Texting Ban Sails Through Florida House
A bill that would fully ban texting while driving in Florida swept to an easy victory in the state's House on March 1, when the legislative body voted 112-2 in favor of the legislation that would make texting while driving a primary offense, reports the Miami Herald.
Presently, texting by noncommercial drivers is a secondary offense in Florida. Law enforcement officers can only give a summons for texting while driving when they stop motorists for other violations, like running a red light. The bill (HB 33) would allow police to pull over drivers solely for texting while behind the wheel.
The legislation has faced opposition in the state Senate where Sen. Rob Bradley recently blocked it, voicing concerns abut privacy rights as police would be given the power to inspect drivers' cellphones, reports the Herald.
Other opponents of the legislation believe the bill could potentially increase the chances for racial profiling by giving officers another reason to pull drivers over, regardless of whether or not they actually committed a traffic infraction, reports WUFT-FM.
To address the concerns regarding racial profiling, the House and Senate versions would require police to record the race and ethnicity of each person pulled over for texting while driving. The goal would be to create a database, allowing people to track whether or not racial profiling is occurring, reports WUFT-FM.