Drivers Have Mixed Reaction Towards Proposed Texting Ban
Published February 9th, 2013
GAINESVILLE - A state Senate committee has advanced a bill that would make texting while driving a ticketable offense in Florida, possibly paving the way towards a future ban on distracted driving.
Right now, Florida is in the minority, as 39 other states have already enacted similar laws against texting behind the wheel. Although many drivers say they know the habit can be dangerous, some still admit to doing it anyway.
According to the National Safety Council, 28 percent of all car accidents in the nation are caused by a driver who's either texting or talking on the phone while behind the wheel.
Numbers compiled by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles show there were 25,156 crashes in Florida during 2011 that involved a distracted driver. The same research shows 2,770 of those crashes were due to cell phone use by drivers, and another 180 specifically due to texting.
The bill, as passed by the Senate Transportation Committee, would make texting while driving a secondary offense, meaning a law enforcement officer could only write a ticket if the driver is pulled over for another offense first; they would not be able to pull a driver over simply for texting.
Although the bill was approved by a committee, it still must pass before the full legislature before it can become law. Very similar bills were proposed during the past few legislative sessions, but each one failed to pass.
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