Texting while driving is now illegal in the state of Florida. On October 1, state lawmakers put into effect a law that prohibits users from creating, sending or receiving messages on a mobile device whenever the car is in motion. Unfortunately this is only a secondary offense and officials are already looking to beef up the law.
According to the Bradenton Herald, state Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, will hold a press conference to announce that she plans to file a bill to strengthen the state law.
Our West Palm Beach car accident lawyers understand that it took the state of Florida about five years to get any kind of law on the books. In Sachs’ favor is the fact that the texting ban ultimately passed overwhelmingly: 39-1 in the Senate and 110-6 in the House. So tougher laws and punishments should be possible, right?
As of now, the new law does not let law enforcement officials pull over a driver only for text messaging behind the wheel. Because it is secondary enforcement, officials will have to witness the driver committing another offense, like speeding or running a red light, before they can be pulled over and ticketed for texting while driving. Even then, a driver will only be slapped with a $30 citation.
Officials with the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) have been conducting educational outreach at high schools across the state. The aim is to reduce the use of cellphones and other electronic devices while driving, as one in five of those distracted teens involved in fatal crashes were using cellphones or texting.
Not every function on your phone is forbidden. Drivers can still use phones for music, navigation apps, or to pick up a call.