Florida Bans Texting While DrivingOct 1st, 2013 | By Admin | Category: Front Page
By Rose Klein
Greene Publishing, Inc.
After five years of trying, and with only eight states left in the nation to get on board, Florida will become the 41st state to issue a texting while driving ban. The ban states that it will be unlawful for drivers to type messages into a smart phone or other mobile devices as they attempt to navigate stoplights, pedestrians and fellow lane-changing drivers. The ban falls short in that texting while driving will only be a secondary offense, meaning that if law enforcement officers see people texting while driving, they can’t pull them over, the offender must first be caught committing another driving infraction. The ban is considered one of the weakest in the nation, but Ron Richardson, Drivers Education Instructor, says, “I hope we can do better and as time goes on, we will.” Senator Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, has been a co-sponsor of the ban and a key player in getting the ban on the books and the law was signed into effect by Governor Rick Scott this past May. “As a father and a grandfather, texting while driving is something that concerns me when my loved ones are on the road,” Gov. Scott said. His concerns are justifiable considering texting while driving accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers, according to a study released by Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York. It was reported that about 3,000 teens die in accidents every year caused by texting and another 300,000 end up treated at hospitals for associated injuries. Adults are no better as 1.6 million crashes per year involve talking or texting while driving with estimations of at least 200,000 of those crashes directly involving texting while driving. The ban begins on October 1st. A first offense will cost thirty dollars and a second offense will cost sixty. Being involved in a crash while texting and driving will add six points to your license. Florida Highway Patrol Captain, Nancy Rasmussen says, “We’re going to be out there, it’s just another statute we’re going to be looking for, so if we see somebody texting and driving, we will pull them over and stop that behavior.” In the meantime, Sen. Sachs says she’ll keep working towards her goal to make texting while driving a primary offense in Florida.