Florida Considers Outlawing Texting & Driving
Jim Turner's Blog at http://www.sunshinestatenews.com reported on February 21, 2012 that Florida's Senate Budget Committee had given its support to a bill aimed at outlawing texting while driving any motor vehicle (including NEVs and LSVs) on Florida's roads, clearing the way for consideration of the measure by the entire State Senate.
SB 416 would have made texting while driving a secondary offense in the state, meaning that drivers would not be stopped for the offense itself, but would have received a ticket for it if law enforcement saw a driver texting or reading texts while committing any other driving infraction.
Senator Nancy Detert (R-Venice) introduced the bill, aimed at making Florida's roads safer by cutting down on distracted driving. Under the measure, a driver would still be allowed to check text messages while the vehicle is idling but not moving. The fine for a first offense would be $30.
A similar measure in Florida's House Of Representatives (HB 299) failed to gain support by any committee during this session.
Ultimately, as of March 12, 2012, the bill died without ever being heard by the Florida House or Senate, making Florida one of only 15 states that do not have such legislation currently on the books. Florida State Representative Mike Weinstein (District 19) cited "personal freedom issues" as the reason for the bill's demise. Proponents of the bill vow to continue the fight to make texting and driving illegal in Florida. We will try to keep you apprised of further developments.