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Ban on Texting While Driving Becomes Law

Individuals who text while driving need to keep an eye out (for the road and) for the new law banning texting while driving. This afternoon, Florida Governor Rick Scott will sign the ban at Alonzo and Tracy Mourning High School in Miami, making Florida the 40th state to penalize texting while driving.

The offense is secondary, however, which means that police cannot pull a driver over and cite him/her only for texting while driving. Police must stop the driver for something else, say speeding or running a red light, before issuing a citation for texting while driving.

A first violation will be treated as a noncriminal traffic infraction, and according to various news sources, only amounts to just a $30 fine plus court costs; a second violation within five years will be treated as a moving violation, and the fine is double that amount. Calling while driving is still legal.

Although I believe thatĀ eliminatingĀ “texting while driving” drivers can make the roads safer, I do not think this law has enough teeth to prevent this kind of behavior. Unless the police can visibly see a driver texting while driving AND while breaking the law, the only indication that a driver was texting while driving is to request phone records. Such phone records are only accessible by the police if the driver caused a crash leading to a person’s death or personal injury. Even if those records are requested, and the driver is found guilty of such behavior, the (first-time) violation is treated merely as a nonmoving violation, which may amount to a measly $30 fine plus court costs. If the idea of crashing because of texting while driving is not enough to prevent the behavior, I am not sure that this ban would be of much help.

Still, because lives are on the line, I believe this is a law worth obeying.

See the actual law here.


Article by: Florence Chen



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