In 2013, Florida passed a law that was intended to limit the amount of people who were texting while driving. Unfortunately, the law was rather lenient and was considered a "secondary law." This meant that police could only pull someone over for texting if they were also guilty of breaking another law, such as running a red light or speeding.
As a result, one study showed that officers were on pace to issue less than 1,800 citations for texting while driving in 2013. Such a low number could only mean one thing – the law wasn't doing what it was intended to do.
It is no surprise, then, that criticism rose concerning the original bill and is now prompting lawmakers to do something about it. Recently, Senators met to discuss and approve two bills that would bolster Florida's ban on texting while driving. The bills were met with a 5-3 vote.
What does this mean for drivers?
The purpose of both new bills is to make texting while driving a primary offense, authorizing police officers to pull over a driver just for texting. One of the bills would also double fines for drivers caught texting while driving in school zones or at specified school crossings.
Florida is currently one of four other states that do not have primary enforcement for texting while driving. Unfortunately, the numbers don't lie. The National Safety Council estimated that at least 1.6 million crashes occur each year because of drivers who text. Florida would do well to enforce a stricter ban, both to increase roadway safety and hold drivers accountable.
If you were injured because of another person's choice to text while driving, our firm wants to help. We understand how devastating this can be and are committed to fighting for the justice you deserve. With over 45 years of combined experience, our Clearwater car accident attorneys can be trusted to advocate for you. Call us today to schedule your free consultation!