If you’ve been keeping up on recent blogs, you’ve likely noticed the regular updates being posted regarding the Florida bill currently under evaluation that would allow law enforcement officers to pull over drivers if they are caught texting while they’re behind the wheel. Yesterday, the bill passed yet another hurdle, this time successfully making its way through the third and final House committee. Before the bill will become law, it will still have to pass in the House as well the Senate.
Should the texting while driving bill become law, Florida will join 43 states that have already made texting while driving a primary offense. As mentioned in previous blogs, Florida’s current laws have had it as a secondary offense since 2013, which means a driver would need to be pulled over for a different reason (i.e.: speeding) before they could receive a citation for texting. These citations remain rare, with fewer than 1,500 people being ticketed for it in 2016.
One of the major issues that could derail the texting while driving bill is the risk of racial profiling, a concern expressed among civil rights advocates and black legislators, according to a Miami Herald article. To deal with this concern, an amendment to the bill would require police to record the driver’s race and ethnicity when they have been stopped for texting. Should the police wish to search the driver’s phone to confirm they were texting, the officer would have to inform the driver that they have the right to decline the search before the officer can proceed.
This update is brought to you by the Miami traffic attorney team of Hochman & Goldin, P.A. We can assist you with criminal traffic violations and we are ready to answer your questions. Please call 305-665-1000 to speak with someone at the Miami ticket law firm today.