Florida’s legislative session is just three months away and two bills have already been filed that would limit cell phone use while driving.
Florida Ban on Wireless Communications Devices While Driving Law
The new bill (Senate Bill 76) sponsored by State Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, called the “Florida Ban on Wireless Communications Devices While Driving Law” – states “a person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols or other characters into a wireless communication device.”
Right now, it’s illegal to text and drive in Florida, but it’s only a “secondary” offense, meaning drivers would have to get stopped for another violation such as speeding or running a stop sign to get pulled over for texting. Florida is behind the times and needs to make texting while driving a primary offense, allowing law enforcement to pull over drivers when they text and drive.
Currently, 47 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers. All but Florida and three others have primary enforcement, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.
Hands-free Florida Law
Rep. Emily Slosberg, D-Boca Raton filed a bill called the “Hands-free Florida Law.” According to the Tampa Bay Times, the proposed legislation (HB 45) would ban drivers from using hand-held wireless devices to talk, but would allow the use of hands-free devices. It would make texting and talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving a primary offense.
For Slosberg, highway safety is personal. In 1996, she was in a car accident with her twin sister Dori, who died. Representative Slosberg continues to be a strong advocate for highway safety by introducing legislation to make Florida’s roads safer.
If either bills passes, it would make texting and other cell phone use while driving a primary offense and Florida would no longer be behind the times. It’s clear: distracted drivers injure and kill. They are as dangerous as drunk drivers.
At Terrell • Hogan, we take distracted driving seriously. That’s why we created our Distracted Driving Awareness Campaign in 2012. We offer two presentations for both teens and adults. Contact us at (904) 722-2228