texting and driving

Measures to protect police dogs and horses and crack down on hazing and child-like sex dolls are among new laws ready to take effect next week.

Rolando Otero / Sun Sentinel

The era of answering emails and texts and looking up recipes and posting to Instagram and liking friends’ Facebook posts on your phone while driving without getting a ticket is over in Florida.

The Sunshine State, until now a bit of a Wild West compared to other states when it comes to phone use while driving, on Monday will become a place where cops can pull you over solely for texting and driving.

Will Race Matter When Cops Ticket For Texting And Driving? We Looked At Seat Belt Citations To See

Jun 27, 2019
Carline Jean / South Florida Sun Sentinel

Black lawmakers fear Florida’s new texting-while-driving law could be just another excuse to stop minority drivers.

Statistics reviewed by the South Florida Sun Sentinel show they have a reason to be worried about the new law that takes effect July 1. In many jurisdictions, black drivers have been disproportionately ticketed for seat belt violations.

Texting While Driving Bill Goes To DeSantis

May 16, 2019
Wikimedia Commons

A bill that would toughen the state’s texting-while-driving law was formally sent Thursday to Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has voiced support for the proposal.

The bill (HB 107), a compromise passed by the House and Senate in late April, would make texting while driving a “primary” traffic offense on July 1.

However, the change would be phased in, according to the bill, with warnings issued starting Oct. 1 and tickets beginning Jan. 1.

Sherrilyn Cabrera / WLRN

For the last two years, Key Biscayne resident Debbie Wanninkhof has advocated for stricter texting while driving laws. A new law in the state of Florida will do just that.

The House bill will likely go into effect July 1 and will make texting while driving a primary offense. Under current law it is only a secondary offense, and police officers are not allowed to pull over drivers for texting while driving.

Associated Press

A bill that will increase the penalty for texting and driving has passed the legislature and is heading to Governor Ron DeSantis for his signature.

Under Florida law it’s currently a secondary offense to text and drive.

But the new bill would make it a primary offense starting July 1.

That’s when Orange County Sheriff Chief John Mina says officers will be able to pull over offenders and write them citations for non-moving violations.

These types of violations result in fines and court fines-beginning at around $30.

House Backs Tougher Texting And Driving Ban In Florida's Roads

Apr 24, 2019
Associated Press

Law-enforcement officers could pull over motorists they see texting and driving, under a measure approved Tuesday by the House despite concerns the change could increase racial profiling.

However, the Senate is set to vote Wednesday on a different proposal that would only allow motorists to use hands-free wireless devices when they are traveling on Florida roads, a restriction that House leaders haven’t supported.

Florida Lawmakers Eye Tougher Texting While Driving Ban

Mar 26, 2019
Wikimedia Commons

An effort to put more teeth into Florida’s ban on texting while driving continued its Senate journey Monday, after lawmakers stripped out proposals that could have allowed police to pull over motorists for potential distractions such as talking on cell phones, eating hamburgers or self-grooming.

LM Otero / AP

You tell yourself that you’ll only check Instagram at the red light, or change your Spotify while driving alone on cruise control through Alligator Alley.

But those few seconds can be deadly for South Florida drivers. In fact, distracted driving causes about 50,000 crashes per year in Florida, according to the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. 

INTEL FREE PRESS / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

A proposal that would allow law enforcement officers to pull over motorists for using cell phones while driving will be back before lawmakers in 2019.

Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, has filed a measure (SB 76) called the “Florida Ban on Wireless Communications Devices While Driving Law,” which would prohibit texting, reading data or talking on wireless handheld devices while behind the wheel.

Will Florida join most of the rest of the country and place an outright ban on texting and driving? Probably not anytime soon.

Associated Press

The Florida House is expected Thursday to approve a measure that would allow law-enforcement officers to pull over people for texting while driving, but the brakes have been applied in the Senate.

Senate sponsor Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, said Wednesday he continues to push for the measure (SB 90), though Appropriations Chairman Rob Bradley has indicated the proposal likely won’t appear in the Appropriations Committee before the legislative session ends next week.

“All I can do is push as hard as I can on getting stuff done,” Perry said.

A bill making texting while driving a primary offense passed its first committee Tuesday. It also drew some concerns.

A bill making texting while driving a primary offense cleared its first Senate committee hearing Tuesday. Tallahassee resident Demetrius Branca supports the bill. In 2014, Branca lost his son Anthony to a person distracted by texting while driving.

Twitter -- Miami-Dade Public Schools

A South Florida lawmaker is on a personal crusade to reduce distracted driving.

State Rep. Emily Slosberg is pushing cities and all 67 counties in Florida to pass a resolution urging lawmakers to make texting while driving a primary offense.

According to state data, there were almost 50,000 crashes involving distracted driving in Florida last year. That’s more than five crashes every hour.

At a recent Boca Raton City Council meeting, Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, said she tried to get a similar law passed during the last legislative session but was unsuccessful.

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