Florida's Text While Driving Ban May Actually Get Some Teeth

Florida's Text While Driving Ban May Actually Get Some Teeth
Intel Free Press via Wikimedia Commons

Passed in 2013, Florida's law outlawing texting while driving isn't really so much of a ban as it is a gentle plea to "please don't do that." Cops cannot pull you over solely for texting while driving, and even then the highest fine is just $60.

In fact, as of September, when the law had been in effect for a year, only 352 tickets had been issued here in Miami-Dade, the state's largest county (with perhaps the worst drivers).

Well, a lawmaker from Weston wants to add some actual teeth to the law. Rep. Richard Stark, D-Weston has introduced a bill that would make enforcing the ban much more feasible.

It would make texting while driving a primary offense, meaning that cops can pull you over for no other reason than that they saw you texting. Fines would also be doubled for those caught texting in school zones.

Of course, even getting the bill passed in its current form was a hard fight. Sen. Nancy Detert, a Republican from Venice, had pushed for the bill for four years before finally succeeding in 2013. Even then, the bill that eventually made it out of the legislature and onto Gov. Rick Scott's desk had been seriously watered down. Detert's original bill had pushed to make texting while driving a primary offense.

So who knows if Stark's bill will have a better chance. Even still, there's still inconclusive evidence as to whether legal bans have much of an effect on the dangers of texting while driving anyway.

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