Florida is one of the only seven states in the country that doesn’t enforce a full ban on texting while driving. The driver must have committed another infraction before they can be ticketed for distracted driving. A full ban will mean that police will be able to pull over any driver who’s found to be texting while driving even when they aren’t speeding, shifting lanes without a signal, weaving through traffic or committing any other infraction.
According to the state, almost 2,700 people died in car crashes in Florida last year but it’s unknown how many of those deaths were due to texting-related incidents. Only about three drivers a day are cited statewide for texting behind the wheel under the existing law.
The state legislature is soon going to consider a bill that’s going to impose a full ban on texting while driving. As it stands, the law declares texting by non-commercial drivers as a secondary offense. Law enforcement officers can’t cite the driver unless there’s another violation.
If the bill is passed, it would make texting behind the wheel a primary offense. Cops will no longer have to wait for another violation to cite the driver. The fine for a first offense would be $30 plus court costs and no points to the driver’s record.
Texting while driving is a primary offense in 43 states. Florida, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Ohio have listed it as a secondary offense. Arizona, Montana, and for non-commercial drivers aged 22 and over in Missouri there’s no state law against texting behind the wheel.