Florida’s ban on texting while driving took effect Oct. 1, but some safety advocates including AAA continue to push for legislative reforms that will categorize the law as a primary offense rather than a secondary one.
As the law currently stands, police cannot pull over and ticket a driver for a texting offense alone. Officers can issue a texting citation only if the driver was pulled over for a different infraction. The current law also allows drivers to send and receive text messages while the vehicle is motionless at a stop signal. As a result, this law has resulted in few citations and hasn’t had much impact, some safety advocates argue.
State Senator Maria Sachs (D-Delray Beach) has introduced a bill that would make texting while driving a primary offense. Moreover, Representative Richard Stark (D-Weston) has introduced a measure that would double fines for texting while driving in school zones or designated school crossings.
Legislators are expected to consider these bills in March, but opposition is expected to be formidable. Opponents can point to some research suggesting that texting bans in general are ineffective as a deterrent.
Below is a video report from CBS Channel 10 News in Tampa Bay: