In Florida, legislation that has attempted to crack down on texting while driving has thus far failed to gain the support necessary to reach passage. As such, the state has remained one of the final holdouts in the battle to curb the dangerous practice. However, proponents of the ban are many this year, and the hope is that opinion has shifted to the point that a bill will finally be passed.
As texting and driving bans go, the Florida proposal is relatively tame. The bill moving through both the House and the Senate would designate texting at the wheel as a secondary offense, and thus a person couldn’t be ticketed unless they were pulled over for committing some other illegal act. The fine itself would only be $30, a number that doubles if the offender commits another violation within a half decade. And amendments further take the teeth out of the bill, creating exemptions for moments when a vehicle is stopped at a traffic light or even in the midst of a traffic snarl.
Other cellphone-related measures are making their way through the legislature, but no matter what passes, numerous persons and agencies believe that some law is in order. The Florida League of Cities, Police Chiefs Association, and Sheriffs Association have all voiced support for an anti-texting measure. But perhaps the most important proponent is a student-led organization known as Drive for Life, which actually began an educational initiative after one student noticed a prevalence of traffic fatalities among his classmates.