A bill to make texting while driving a primary offense in Florida is closer than it has ever been to the governor’s desk.
The Florida Senate voted 33 to 5 Thursday to pass the House version of the bill, (HB 107) substituting it for the Senate version, which was broader and prohibited using any wireless communication device.
However, the Senate added an amendment to the House bill that would ban the use of any wireless device while in school zones or work zones. The Florida House will now have to decide what to do with the amended version of the bill.
The bill is the closest Florida has ever gotten to allowing law enforcement to pull over drivers for texting while driving. Currently, texting while driving is a secondary offense, which means officers need another reason to pull over a driver in order to cite them for texting while driving.
If the bill passes the Florida Legislature and is signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, it would go into effect on July 1.
Texting while driving has been identified as the most dangerous form of distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 480,000 drivers use cell phones while driving every day. These devices create a huge potential for injuries and fatalities to drivers, passengers, and everyone else sharing the road.
The truth is that most drivers underestimate the time it takes for a car accident to happen. When you are travelling 55 mph, in a matter of just five seconds – the approximate amount of time it takes to read a text – you will have travelled the entire length of a football field. Serious collisions can happen in as little as three seconds.