If state senator Evelyn Lynn has her way, there will be no more rush-hour digital hankypanky on Florida highways. In fact, there would be no more digital anything allowed while driving in the Sunshine State.
Lynn's recently introduced Senate Bill 80 would ban "text messaging, e-mail, instant messaging, or paging, while operating a motor vehicle on a street or highway."
While we're sure that Lynn's intentions are good -- recent studies show texting while driving is dangerous -- isn't it a little onerous to outlaw all email or texting, even if you're stuck in a traffic jam and rescheduling your midnight ménage?
Lynn could not be reached for comment. Here is the meat of the bill:
(1) A person may not use an electronic communication device to compose, send, or read a text-based communication, including text messaging, e-mail, instant messaging, or paging, while operating a motor vehicle on a street or highway, as defined in s.316.003(53), Florida Statutes.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to:
(a) A law enforcement officer or emergency medical services personnel in the performance of their official duties; or
(b) A person using such device to:
1. Report illegal activities;
2. Summon medical or other emergency help; or
3. Prevent injury or damage to a person or property.
(3) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable by a fine of $100 for each offense.
Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2011.
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That's right: $100 per text message -- assuming you're caught, of course.
It's not clear yet what type of support the bill has in the new, super Republican state legislature. Governor-elect Rick Scott has said he's open to cracking down on driving distractions, but may not favor an outright ban.
The fine seems a little steep, but then again, maybe you can tell the cops you were just "preventing personal injury" by returning your girlfriend's text.