According to Ad Council, a texting driver is 23 times more likely to get into a car accident than a non-texting driver. A number of Florida state senators aim to reduce the number of personal injury victims due to texting drivers. These senators have introduced Senate Bill 52, "Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law". This bill would prohibit the operation of a motor vehicle while using a wireless communication device for certain purposes.
The proposed law would not allow officers to stop drivers for texting, but would allow for drivers to receive a secondary violation (similar to Florida's seat belt law) for texting while driving. The law, as currently written, would ban texting, or reading texts, but not talking on their telephones. The law also lists emergency vehicles, law enforcement vehicles, fire service professionals and emergency medical service professionals as drivers who are specifically exempt from this law. A violation of this law would lead to a fine, and if the texting results in an accident, the driver would be given six points on their license. Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia already have similar bans against texting while driving.
The bill's listed goal is fourfold: 1) to improve roadway safety for all vehicle operators, vehicle passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and other road users; 2) Prevent crashes related to the act of text messaging while driving a motor vehicle. 3) Reduce injuries, deaths, property damage, health care costs, health insurance rates, and automobile insurance rates related to motor vehicle crashes. 4) Authorize law enforcement officers to stop motor vehicles and issue citations as a secondary offense to persons who are texting while driving.
Whether a bill survives to become law is always an unknown until the law is actually signed by the governor, it appears that this bill is on the fast track, as it has already passed through the transportation and communications committees of the Florida Senate.