Florida legislation is working to pass a bill that would change the rules for texting while driving in Florida.
Under the proposed legislation, officers would be able to pull over drivers only because they were caught on their phone while operating a vehicle. Currently, the law requires that drivers are stopped for a different reason like swerving or speeding and then charged with texting while driving. It’s called a secondary offense.
House Bill 33: Texting While Driving was filed on December 6, 2017 and most recently has made its way to judiciary committee on January 9, 2018. If the bill passes the new law will go into effect on July 1, 2018. Other similar bills including Senate Bill 90 and Senate Bill 72 would both change texting while driving from a secondary offense to a primary offense but would go into effect in October if passed.
Lt. Greg Bueno of the Florida State Highway Patrol says, “In todays day and age handheld devices are a huge distraction,” he says, “You’re driving a vehicle that ways several thousand pounds and by taking your eyes off the road and not paying attention then you’re endangering everyone else that’s out in that immediate vicinity, including yourself.”
Florida representatives, including House Speaker Richard Corcoran, support the bill in hopes of creating safer roads for Florida.