It may have been a long and winding road, and the ability to truly alter the behavior of citizens may still be up for debate, but after months and even years of fighting, Florida looks to be on the verge of passing its first ever ban on texting and driving.
Yesterday, the Senate gave its approval to the ban, with only one lawmaker voting against the bill. That approval means that the bill will now make its way to the Governor’s desk. Since the Governor’s own family is said to have recently experienced an automobile crash stemming from distracted driving, the thought is that his signature is all but assured.
The road to get here wasn’t easy, as proponents will be first to attest. The bill’s sponsor has been petitioning lawmakers to take up the matter for years, but those efforts were previously blocked by those who saw the ban as an affront to personal freedom. That changed this year when the bill was taken up by both the Senate and the House. The former first approved the matter weeks ago, but a House amendment preventing the seizure of cellphone records in all but crash-related circumstances meant that the Senate had to vote one last time by session’s end.
That time limit turned out not to matter, as the Senate was quick to approve the latest version of the ban. If indeed it’s signed by the Governor, texting and driving will become a secondary offense costing a driver $30 if he or she is caught.