Stricter Florida Texting and Driving Laws
Right now in Florida, texting while driving is considered a secondary offense. That means that officers can only cite drivers for texting if they are pulled over for another offense. Florida is one of few states that has texting and driving as a secondary offense. Currently offenders an be punised with a $20 fine. No points on their driver’s license.
Soon though, this may change. Leaders in the Florida House will introduce a bill this week that would make texting behind the wheel a primary offense. If passed, Florida would join 41 other states where texting while driving is a primary offense. House Speaker Richard Corcoran said that, it’s time for Florida to join other states to make texting and driving a primary offense but with civil rights protections included. Officers would not be able to access of take a driver’s phone without a warrant and require them to inform drivers of their right to refuse a search of their phones.
Will It Actually Help?
Corcoran told 10 News that he reviewed large amounts of data about distracted driving and believes that this bill will help curb a fair amount of accidents and deaths. Florida had about 50,000 car accidents last year due to texting while driving.
The House bill would increase fines to $30 plus court costs , up to a $108 total for a first offense. This would be a non-moving violation. If it happens again within five years, it would be considered a moving violation with a $60 fine, up to $158 total with court costs and three points on the license. If the texting caused an accident, the point level would increase to six points and if any of the offenses are a moving violation in a school zone, two extra points would be added.
House Speaker Corcoran said he hopes the bill will pass with bipartisan support and for a similar bill to pass in the Senate, so negotiations on the bill can be easier next year.
Source: 10 News WTSP