Until now texting while driving in Florida has been illegal, but that was hard to enforce. Over the years, I’ve indicated distracted driving is an epidemic. The Florida Legislature decided to help law enforcement officers prevent highway injuries and deaths caused by drivers using cell phones. Now, 43 other states’ laws make texting while driving a primary offense. Florida is finally catching up.
What the New Anti-Texting Law Means
The new law is set to take effect July 1. It makes texting and driving a primary offense: officers can stop drivers who text. The first violation carries a $30 fine, and the second a $60 fine, but court costs are added, so it’s not just the fine that’s paid. Unwisely, the law appears to let drivers text while sitting stopped in traffic; that’s still careless driving though, and texters stopped at the light who don’t see the light change will get clobbered from behind. The law does allow drivers to use their phone using hands-free devices, which are required for any kind of use in school zones and work zones. The state is planning an educational campaign and to issue warnings through year’s end. Ticketing will start January 1, 2020. The Governor has now signed the bill into law. Governor signs bill: Texting while driving will soon get you pulled over in Florida
This new legislation is due to many legislators working together to help make Florida roads safer. In 1996 Rep. Emily Slosberg survived an accident that took the life of her twin sister, Dori. Their Dad, Irving Slosberg, dedicated his career in the legislature to highway safety and founded the Dori Slosberg Foundation. She never gave up and her efforts have now helped to make Florida’s roads safer.
It was high time the Florida legislature did something to make people think before texting and driving. Distracted drivers are as dangerous as drunk drivers. Statistics show that something must be done. In 2018, there were 52,129 distracted driving crashes in Florida. In those crashes, 3,068 people suffered devastating injuries and 233 died. Let’s help make those numbers go down in 2019.
What You Can Do To Help
Hang up. Set the example. Choose not to use the cell phone when driving. Your phone will still be there when we get to our destination – safely – and so will the list of missed calls. We can always safely pull off the road to take or make an emergency call. If there are passengers with you, ask them to handle any calls or use the phone for directions. And speaking of passengers, they can be proactive and discourage all distracted driving activity.
Distracted Driving Presentations
“One text or call can wreck it all.” That’s the point: With the goal of help making our roadways safer, in 2012 Terrell Hogan began offering free Distracted Driving Awareness presentations to students and adult drivers, and to company and non-profit policy-makers. Nearly 10,000 people on the First Coast have been reached – in person. To request a free presentation for your school, business, civic group or non-profit call 722-2228.