After more than three years of effort, the Florida Legislature finally reached an agreement on how to enforce a “texting while driving” ban.
The bills upgrade the current law governing “texting while driving” moving the traffic offense from a secondary to a primary.
Specifically, the new language will make the following changes to the current law:
- “Texting while driving” will become a primary offense;
- Officers cannot search a phone without a warrant;
- A ban on distracted driving will apply in school zones and work zones; and
- The ethnic/racial background information will be collected on both the officer and the driver.
The differences in opinion over implementing a “texting”, or “distracted while driving” ban simmered all session. The compromise on the school and work zones for a full “distracted while driving” ban happened after the both bills were heard on the respective floors of each chamber. The Senate amended the bill to put the language into HB 107 which sent the bill back to the House of Representatives for final approval.
The ethnic/racial information for both the officer and driver was included at the request of the Legislative Black Caucus also after the both bills reached the respective chamber’s floors.
Certain questions will linger on about this upgrade to the law, but the bottom line for every special interest involved is that Florida will crack down the dangerous driving habits flooding our roadways.
Please join me in thanking Senator Wilton Simpson, Representative Jackie Toledo, and Representative Emily Slosberg for sponsoring the legislation HB 107 and SB 76.
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