On October 1st, 2013, a new law was implemented banning texting while driving in Florida and throughout the country. Under the new law, drivers are prohibited from texting while driving, but there are contentions against the new law insofar as the level of enforcement and penalties.
Boca Raton State Representative Irving Slosberg, who has based his legislative career on traffic safety, called the bill a disappointment. “It started off as a primary (offense, but) became a secondary offense,” Slosberg said. “You can text in traffic jams, you can text at red lights, it’s only $30 (for a ticket) and the police can’t even confiscate (cell phone) records unless you kill or seriously injure someone. So it’s politics and unfortunately there’s no lobbyist for public safety.” As a secondary offense, drivers must be stopped for a separate alleged traffic violation before being ticketed for texting while driving.
Not long after the new law was placed, Senator Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, unveiled a proposed bill that would toughen the existing law. Sachs wants to change the law to make texting while driving a primary offense.The penalties would remain the same — $30 for the first violation — but Sachs’ bill would make it easier for law enforcement to ticket drivers.Sachs released her proposed measure at a press conference at AutoNation in Fort Lauderdale. She cited multiple statistics about the dangers of texting while driving, an offense she described as more deadly than drunk driving.
A pertinent statistic indicates that over 4,500 accidents last year were attributed to drivers being distracted by their cell phones or other electronic communication devices. Two hundred and fifty-five of those crashes were directly linked to texting, although law enforcement officials say that the actual number of crashes caused by texting is probably much higher.