It took five years, but the state of Florida finally has a texting while driving law. The bill SB 52 was recently signed into law, prohibiting e-mailing, instant messaging, and texting while driving on Florida roads.
With the passage of this new bill, Florida has become the 41st state to prohibit texting and driving. The bill only bans manual texting while driving, but it allows drivers to text when they are stopped at traffic lights or stopped in traffic. Additionally, this new law only makes texting a secondary offense, which means that a driver has to do something else like speeding to get pulled over and cited for texting while driving as well.
Florida’s new texting law does not go into effect until October 1, 2013, and it will carry a $30 citation. However, if a driver is pulled over twice for texting, a second offense carries a $60 citation and three points on their driver’s record.
The new law will not allow a driver’s phone records to be used to prove texting, unless a crash occurred that involved injury or death. Although the new law will make it difficult for police officers to prove a driver was texting, state officials came together to pass the bill even though it changed from the original proposed bill.
Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, has tried to get this bill passed for five years, which is why she didn’t attempt to amend the bill when it came back to the Senate after the House changed it. Although the Florida texting while driving bill isn’t as strong as in other states, it will still teach teenagers that texting while driving is illegal and dangerous.
Hopefully, this new law will reduce Florida wrecks and Sarasota car accidents involving teens.