Florida lawmakers have given their initial approval to a measure that would ban texting while driving throughout the state, but many fear that the biggest hurdles are yet to come.
As it currently stands, the proposed bill would ban texting at the wheel, classifying the violation as a secondary offense. Thus, a person couldn’t be pulled over unless their texting leads them to commit some other illegal act. Lawmakers on the Senate Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities Committee unanimously supported the bill, a House version of which was considered yesterday by the House Transportation and Highway Safety Committee.
The worry among some is that the House, which in past years dissented against the approval of the bill, will do the same this year. But the bill’s sponsor has said that the House Speaker is more likely to bring the issue to a vote this year. In 2012, a different speaker was so adamantly opposed to the measure that he didn’t even let it receive consideration in a committee.
Only time will tell if members of the House decide the benefits of the bill would outweigh the supposed infringement on an individual’s rights. A couple provisions could set some minds at ease. Hands-free texting would be allowed under the proposal, as would handheld texting if the vehicle is stopped at a traffic light.