Florida House likely to pass texting while driving bill - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Florida House likely to pass texting while driving bill

Posted: Updated:
TALLAHASSEE, FL -

The Florida Senate has unanimously approved a bill that would make texting a secondary offense, meaning police would have to stop the vehicle for another offense, such as speeding. Florida is currently one of only five states without a ban on texting.

A first violation is a $30 fine, plus court costs. A second or subsequent violation within five years adds three points to the driver's license and a $60 fine. And if texting causes a crash, that's six points. Points lead to increased insurance rates. There are additional penalties for driving while texting in a school zone.

Texting while driving is "equivalent to drinking four beers very quickly and getting behind the wheel of a car," said Rep. Doug Holder, the Venice Republican sponsoring the bill. "We're losing people every single day because they're texting while driving and they're distracted while driving."

The ban includes typing a text or reading a text while driving. It includes tablet computers as well as mobile phones, but excludes using a "talk-to-text" feature. And it allows texting while stopped at a red light.

The bill allows the use of phone records in defense against a ticket, for instance. But some phone companies' records don't differentiate between manual texting and talk-to-text messaging.

A companion bill (SB 52) is in the Senate. A ban is supported by AT&T, the AARP, AAA, trial lawyers, businesses and state law enforcement groups. The House bill next goes to the Appropriations committee, Patronis said.

According to a preliminary report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 256,443 reported crashes in 2012. In 4,841 of those crashes, a driver had been texting or otherwise using an "electronic communication device" while driving.

Drivers who text take their eyes off the road for almost 5 seconds, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which regulates the trucking industry. At 55 mph, a driver can cross the equivalent of a football field while not looking.

Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia already have texting-while-driving bans for all drivers.

But a 2010 study by the Highway Loss Data Institute, which looks at insurance claims, said crashes didn't go down in states that banned texting by drivers. In fact, it found that reported collisions went up slightly. The researchers guessed that bans are making a bad situation worse by causing drivers, knowing it's illegal, to move their phones down and out of sight when they text. That takes their eyes even further away from the road.

 

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Tampa Bay Water begins filling Bill Young reservoir

    Tampa Bay Water begins filling Bill Young reservoir

    Thursday, July 31 2014 10:33 AM EDT2014-07-31 14:33:05 GMT
    Tampa Bay Water is celebrating a rebirth of sort for its beleaguered Bill Young reservoir. TBW is now diverting water from the Alafia river and filling the reservoir after a massive gutting and renovation project that cost in excess of $124 million dollars.
    Tampa Bay Water is celebrating a rebirth of sort for its beleaguered Bill Young reservoir. TBW is now diverting water from the Alafia river and filling the reservoir after a massive gutting and renovation project that cost in excess of $124 million dollars.
  • Pool parasite invades Pinellas County

    Pool parasite invades Pinellas County

    Thursday, July 31 2014 6:25 AM EDT2014-07-31 10:25:05 GMT
    Health officials say the parasite that causes 'Crypto' could be in your pool. Health officials say the parasite that causes 'Crypto' could be in your pool.
    Health Department officials in Pinellas County are putting out a warning about a parasite that can lurk in swimming pools and water parks.

    Health Department officials in Pinellas County are putting out a warning about a parasite that can lurk in swimming pools and water parks. And, if it invades your body, you're in for a rough ride - it's called Cryptosporidium.


  • Hyundai recalls 888,700 Sonata Sedans

    Hyundai recalls 888,700 Sonata Sedans

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:14 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:14:48 GMT
    Over 800,000 Hyundai Sonata Sedans have been recalled. Over 800,000 Hyundai Sonata Sedans have been recalled.
    Hyundai is recalling its popular Sonata midsize sedan to fix problems with the gear shift levers.The recall covers 883,000 cars from the 2011 through 2014 model years.Stay connected with the news of the day.
    Hyundai is recalling its popular Sonata midsize sedan to fix problems with the gear shift levers.The recall covers 883,000 cars from the 2011 through 2014 model years.Stay connected with the news of the day.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Polk deputies assist in search after man arrested in teen's disappearance

    Polk deputies assist in search after man arrested in teen's disappearance

    Thursday, July 31 2014 1:36 PM EDT2014-07-31 17:36:08 GMT
    Sanel Saint Simon booking photo (left), Alexandria Chery (right): Photo Courtesy WESHSanel Saint Simon booking photo (left), Alexandria Chery (right): Photo Courtesy WESH
    The Polk County Sheriff's Office says they are assisting the Orange County Sheriff's Office in the search for a missing person in the Champions Gate area in Osceola County, according to WESH 2 News.
    The Polk County Sheriff's Office says they are assisting the Orange County Sheriff's Office in the search for a missing person in the Champions Gate area in Osceola County, according to WESH 2 News.
  • Citrus man accused of transmitting HIV, more victims possible

    Citrus man accused of transmitting HIV, more victims possible

    Thursday, July 31 2014 1:33 PM EDT2014-07-31 17:33:57 GMT
    The Citrus County Sheriff's Office has arrested a man for allegedly transmitting HIV to at least one woman.
    The Citrus County Sheriff's Office has arrested a man for allegedly transmitting HIV to at least one woman.
  • Pinellas Public Safety Complex opens

    Pinellas Public Safety Complex opens

    Thursday, July 31 2014 1:32 PM EDT2014-07-31 17:32:45 GMT
    Pinellas County Public Safety ComplexPinellas County Public Safety Complex
    The Pinellas County Board of County Commissionersgot a tour of the new Sheriff's Administration Building and the Public Safety Complex. The tour included areas of the new complex like theSheriff's Read-Off Room, Mat Room, the Regional 911 Center and the Emergency Operations Center.
    The Pinellas County Board of County Commissionersgot a tour of the new Sheriff's Administration Building and the Public Safety Complex. The tour included areas of the new complex like theSheriff's Read-Off Room, Mat Room, the Regional 911 Center and the Emergency Operations Center.
  • Virginia Settles ABC Lawsuit

    Virginia Settles ABC Lawsuit

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:09 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:09:02 GMT
    Attorney General Mark Herring says the Commonwealth has reached a settlement with Elizabeth Daly in her $40 million lawsuit against several agents of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
    Attorney General Mark Herring says the Commonwealth has reached a settlement with Elizabeth Daly in her $40 million lawsuit against several agents of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
  • Franklin County accident causes lane closures on Brooks Mill Road

    State Trooper injured in accident on Brooks Mill Road

    State Trooper injured in accident on Brooks Mill Road

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 3:31 PM EDT2014-07-30 19:31:25 GMT
    State Police confirm that a trooper was involved in a crash Tuesday night.
    State Police confirm that a trooper was involved in a crash Tuesday night.
  • Fugitive sex offender captured in Roanoke

    Fugitive sex offender captured in Roanoke

    Fugitive sex offender captured in Roanoke

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 12:41 AM EDT2014-07-30 04:41:44 GMT
    ROANOKE (WSLS) - A man wanted for sex crimes against a minor was captured in Roanoke during a traffic stop.
    ROANOKE (WSLS) - A man wanted for sex crimes against a minor was captured in Roanoke during a traffic stop.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.