Florida lawmakers have agreed to a proposal that would make texting while driving a primary instead of a secondary offense in the state. The state's House passed legislation on April 29 after reaching an agreement with the Senate, reports Panama City News Herald.
The legislation now goes to Gov. Ron DeSantis for final approval. He has previously voiced support for the measure.
If the legislation becomes law, officers will be allowed to pull over drivers solely for texting. While texting behind the wheel is already illegal in Florida, presently, officers can only write a citation if they stop the motorist for another infraction.
The new measure will also require drivers to go hands-free when operating devices in school and construction zones, according to the News Herald.
The Senate had proposed an even stricter hands-free bill, but the House suggested a compromise.
Under the proposed legislation, the penalty for a fist offense would be $30 plus court fees. A second violation within five years would cost the driver a $60 penalty plus three points on the driver's license. Finally, if a driver's texting results in a crash, he or she would get six points on their driver's license, according to the report.
If the bill becomes law, Florida will be the 44th state to designate texting while driving a primary offense.
In late 2018, the National Safety Council found that Florida had the second-highest number of roadway deaths in 2017 attributable to distracted driving. Texas led the nation that year.