Florida may soon be joining the 43 other states that legally ban texting while driving. On January 23rd, a bill that would allow police to pull people over for texting while driving took another step toward becoming law, passing its third and final House committee.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, and Rep. Emily Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, still has to pass in both the House and Senate before becoming law. If the bill is passed, Florida will become the 44th state to make texting while driving a primary offense, which means drivers can be pulled over solely for sending messages while behind the wheel.
Currently, texting while driving in Florida is a secondary offense, which means the motorist must be in violation of the law for a citation to be issued. Texting while driving has been banned since 2013, but only as a secondary offense.
The penalties for violating it could possibly range from $30 for a first offense and $60 for the second, plus court costs. A driver would incur three points on their record only on the second offense. Currently, the fine for this offense is roughly $115 to $125 depending on which county the offense occurred. Each county has different fine amounts for the secondary offense of texting and driving.
Some social media posts have indicated the bill has passed, but it is currently under consideration. The Florida Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies are working to educate all motorists on the dangers of texting and driving.
Tickets and driving offenses aside, The Lewis Law Group would like to use this opportunity to remind our audience of the dangers of texting while driving and strongly encourage that you and yours avoid this deadly practice.