Although Florida’s new texting ban was signed into law over the summer, it did not go into effect until October 1, 2013. And the passage of this new law took years in the making because of the many lawmakers who were reluctant to pass this bill. This is why this texting law isn’t as strict as it is in some states.
The new state law will only carry a $30 citation and is a secondary offense. It will carry a $60 citation and three points on a driver’s license for a second violation within a five-year period. Although this new law isn’t very tough, authorities are hopeful that it will make roads safer and reduce the amount of Florida car crashes due to distracted driving.
Already just days into the new bill, some Florida lawmakers are looking to make changes. They want to upgrade texting while driving in Florida to a primary offense, which would allow police officers to pull over drivers if they see them texting at the wheel. Currently, this law doesn’t allow officers to stop drivers for texting only. A driver would have to be speeding or swerving—doing something dangerous—for an officer to stop the vehicle.
Senator Nancy Detert, R-Venice, and Representative Doug Holder, R-Venice, who fought to get the texting while driving ban approved, are hoping that this law will at least have an impact on teenagers who start driving. If teens know it is illegal, maybe they won’t text, which will reduce the amount of teen car crashes in Florida.
However, these two lawmakers know that the state needs tougher texting while driving laws, which is why they are planning to push more legislation in the 2014 session.