Floridians face a full ban on texting while driving if legislature passes new bill

Floridians face a full ban on texting while driving if legislature passes new bill
For now, Florida is one of seven states that requires those texting while driving to have committed another infraction before being charged with distracted driving. But that is about to change. The Florida state legislature will soon discuss the possibilities of pushing through a bill that will make texting while driving a primary offense. That means that the cops will be able to nail someone behind the wheel who is texting even if they aren't speeding, shifting lanes without flashing their signal, or driving a vehicle that doesn't have a license.

First time offenders under the bill, would be fined $30 plus court costs, and would not be assessed any points. Many suggest that the bill is necessary, especially after data from 2015 revealed that accidents from texting and other forms of distracted driving resulted in an average of more than nine deaths a day in the state. Contrast that to the current law in Florida under which only three drivers a day on average, are cited for texting while driving.

Will banning texting while driving reduce the number of fatal accidents caused by distracted driving? Data released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) revealed that five of the seven states where texting behind the wheel isn't a primary offense, had highway deaths above average in 2016. On the other hand the IIHS found that in states where a ban  is enacted, there is no drop off in accidents even though the number of drivers texting had declined. One theory is that once a ban is put in place, drivers hold their phone lower so as not to be seen by the cops. But that keeps these drivers' eyes off the roads for a longer period of time, increasing the risk of an accident occurring. On the other hand, a study conducted in 2014 by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, found that states passing a full texting ban had a 3% decline in fatalities. 

One of the lawmakers sponsoring the bill, Democratic state Rep. Emily Slosberg, was injured in a 1996 car accident that killed her twin sister. The driver at fault was arrested for reckless driving. Slosberg says, "You see it every day when you are out driving - people texting. It has become part of our culture. It is time for the Legislature to send a message that we will no longer accept this deadly behavior on our roads."

Some against the bill argue that there is no need to change the current law since tickets can already be issued for actions like swerving, following too closely, and other infractions. Others worry that if the bill is voted into law, minorities will feel the brunt of the law change.

source: AP

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37 Comments

1. fyah_king unregistered

I'm all for it!

27. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

Texting while in a MOVING vehicle, absolutely! Stopped at a traffic light, not so much. Really, anything that takes your eyes away from the road while stopped at a light could be claimed to be dangerous, such as updating your GPS, dialing a number to make a call, etc. It should be an offense to text while driving, not simply being in the car.

2. mcoomes

Posts: 56; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

Three iss no nee fir thid law. Heck, Im drying and txting right now and you cab see that 1) Im per feck tree comprehensive and 2) Im diving soup or safe...SMASH, mother f**kers, you're dead. But I'm not, and I still have rights. /End of sarcasm. But seriously, w/e is so important that it can't wait?

11. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 718; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

@mcoomes Your idiocy shows what kind of a person you are and shouldn't be driving in the first place! Rights? When this law has been passed. When the police caught you texting while driving. Your rights have been revoked! Whatcha gonna do? Escape?! Your violations would increase!

13. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Did you even read his comment? It literally says /End of sarcasm and in the end asks what is so important that it (texting) can't wait. Seems to me he is against texting and driving

32. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 718; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

@RebelwithoutaClue I don't care if it was a sarcasm! Texting while driving has been the practice of all careless persons anywhere in the world way back since the introduction of mobile phones like the 3310. Have you seen and read a lot of articles regarding texting while driving accidents? When it comes to comments like this. Driving should be taken carefully. Tell me. When you were getting a drivers license. Did the examiner tell you to use the mobile/smart phones when you are driving?

34. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

When I got my license, mobile phones were the size of small laptops, so no he didn't say that. And yes driving should be taken carefully, I despise people who text & drive and should be up there with drink & drive. Doesn't mean I can't appreciate some irony/sarcasm.

35. mcoomes

Posts: 56; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

@47AlphaTango. Dude, develop a clue or read my original comment to a few friends (outside your mother's basement). The "text" I wrote is deliberately screwed up...to demonstrate the idiocy of attempting to text while driving. As in...what's the point of even texting while driving, when you can barely be cohesive, anyway. And that's in ADDITION to the clear stupidity (or arrogance) one must possess to think they can safely maneuver a 3,500 pound vehicle, nearly 8 feet wide, inside a 10 foot lane, at speeds in which they traverse 1/4 mile in 15 seconds, and do so while looking down. If you had attached any comprehension to my first comment, you'd have taken it in the same form as any political cartoon, night time satirical show, or stand-up performance. You know, the arenas in which SARCASM and EXAGGERATION are on the menu.

18. FreshPrinceOfH

Posts: 80; Member since: Dec 31, 2017

This is one of the funniest threads I have ever seen. mcoomes comment was an example of irony. To help you better understand it here is a definition for you. "Irony is the expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect." In other words, he thinks driving while texting is bad.

30. mcoomes

Posts: 56; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

Read it again. Dilly dilly. :)

3. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

This should habe been in place decades ago. If you so need to text, park aside and do your texting. So glad Canada has such in place...

4. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

"First time offenders under the bill, would be fined $30 plus court costs" Only $30!? Should have been at least $100 more.

12. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 718; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

@MrShazam My idea should be $150.

14. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Wow a 30 dollar fine, that is absurd. In my country its a lot higher already and they are about to change the law to make it equal to drunk & driving, meaning you could lose your license and face jail time.

26. TerryD

Posts: 545; Member since: May 09, 2017

Bearing in mind that very few people will ever get caught texting a mere $30 fine wont put anyone off.

16. lyndon420

Posts: 6739; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

I think we Canadians should be allowed to paintball car windshields if we see someone texting. Honestly I see more people looking at their crotch compared to what's in front of them.

5. Tech-shake

Posts: 213; Member since: Nov 14, 2016

This is long overdue! Nevertheless, it is a very welcomed move that everyone state and country should follow

6. Anonymous.

Posts: 423; Member since: Jun 15, 2016

[especially after data from 2015 revealed that accidents from texting and other forms of distracted driving resulted in an average of more than nine deaths a day in the state.] Nine deaths a day? WTF! The $30 fine is a joke. The fine should be thrice as much, to say the least.

8. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

An average of 3,285 deaths a year in Florida alone simply from texting and driving smh, like hold up let me pose for a selfie, the light was green when I last looked up....... $30 doesn't seem like enough incentive to stop most people but perhaps the knowledge that you don't get a pass on your first offense will do most of the heavy lifting.

7. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1251; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

In my country it is illegal to even hold your phone while driving....amazing that only 3 states doesn't texting, it should be all of them....and not just texting.

15. worldpeace

Posts: 3129; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Heck, it's even illegal to use phone when my car fully stop at parking lot.. It's an old law, and actually it's only said that it's illegal to hold phone when you're on driver seat. (using phone holder is okay)

24. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

I was in Cali barely 12 hours & had my phone in my hand listening to the navigation instructions. CHP pulled me over. Said that I can't even have my phone in my hand & that's what the passenger is for. Only reason I didn't get a ticket is because my license was from out of state. This law is definitely needed everywhere.

9. TheOracle1

Posts: 2216; Member since: May 04, 2015

Drivers down here are awful at the best of times so this is long overdue. Personally I feel it should carry a penalty closer to drunk driving since you're impaired too. Using your phone should be banned completely. Like the many women I see using the front camera to do their makeup in the car.

10. japkoslav

Posts: 1500; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

Wait, what? This is not bannned already? Texting and taking calls without handsfree is not banned in every state and country? O.o

17. darkkjedii

Posts: 30971; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Nevada has it, and I’m all for it.

20. Ralph.

Posts: 249; Member since: Dec 20, 2017

London has It, and I'm all for it too. 6 points £200 fine.

28. japkoslav

Posts: 1500; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

Wow 6 point and 200 pounds, that's brutal compared to Czech Republic. But I would love to have it here, too many people I meet on the road still have their phone in the hands - driving incompetently.

19. FreshPrinceOfH

Posts: 80; Member since: Dec 31, 2017

So does this mean it will still be legal to Snapchat while driving?

21. Ralph.

Posts: 249; Member since: Dec 20, 2017

You cannot hold a phone while driving.

33. FreshPrinceOfH

Posts: 80; Member since: Dec 31, 2017

That's not what the law says. “A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data in such a device for the purpose of nonverbal interpersonal communication, included, but not limited to, communication methods known as texting, e-mailing and instant messaging.” It's specifically related to entering text.

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