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>>

  • Frightened neighbors voice concerns about Pasco mental health ALF

    Frightened neighbors voice concerns about Pasco mental health ALF

    Friday, August 22 2014 6:01 PM EDT2014-08-22 22:01:54 GMT
    In the middle of a New Port Richey subdivision on Langston Ave. white iron gates lead to a large compound surrounded by barbed wire fences. Inside there is a swimming pool, parking lotand several buildings that formerly served as the neighborhood HOA community center.
    In the middle of a New Port Richey subdivision on Langston Ave. white iron gates lead to a large compound surrounded by barbed wire fences. Inside there is a swimming pool, parking lotand several buildings that formerly served as the neighborhood HOA community center.
  • Bradenton apartment complex to be repaired after 8 On Your Side report

    Bradenton apartment complex to be repaired after 8 On Your Side report

    Friday, August 22 2014 4:47 PM EDT2014-08-22 20:47:05 GMT
    Last week, 8 on your side showed you some of the dilapidated conditions inside some units at the Townhouse Park Apartments in Bradenton.Tenants were having problems with mold and rodents.There was also water damage.
    Last week, 8 on your side showed you some of the dilapidated conditions inside some units at the Townhouse Park Apartments in Bradenton.Tenants were having problems with mold and rodents.There was also water damage.
  • 2.2 million bean bag chairs recalled after deaths

    2.2 million bean bag chairs recalled after deaths

    Friday, August 22 2014 11:01 AM EDT2014-08-22 15:01:24 GMT
    About 2.2 million bean bag chairs are being recalled after two children opened them, crawled inside and suffocated to death. CPSC photoAbout 2.2 million bean bag chairs are being recalled after two children opened them, crawled inside and suffocated to death. CPSC photo
    About 2.2 million bean bag chairs are being recalled after two children opened them, crawled inside and suffocated to death.
    About 2.2 million bean bag chairs are being recalled after two children opened them, crawled inside and suffocated to death.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Duke Energy billing change making Florida consumers upset

    Duke Energy billing change making Florida consumers upset

    Friday, August 22 2014 9:14 PM EDT2014-08-23 01:14:14 GMT
    Duke Energy customers in Florida are a little hot this month, and not just because of the weather.Duke is changing it's billing cycle and adding up to 12 days to customers bills.Duke says it is rerouting their meter readers to make shorter trips.
    Duke Energy customers in Florida are a little hot this month, and not just because of the weather.Duke is changing it's billing cycle and adding up to 12 days to customers bills.Duke says it is rerouting their meter readers to make shorter trips.
  • Frightened neighbors voice concerns about Pasco mental health ALF

    Frightened neighbors voice concerns about Pasco mental health ALF

    Friday, August 22 2014 6:01 PM EDT2014-08-22 22:01:54 GMT
    In the middle of a New Port Richey subdivision on Langston Ave. white iron gates lead to a large compound surrounded by barbed wire fences. Inside there is a swimming pool, parking lotand several buildings that formerly served as the neighborhood HOA community center.
    In the middle of a New Port Richey subdivision on Langston Ave. white iron gates lead to a large compound surrounded by barbed wire fences. Inside there is a swimming pool, parking lotand several buildings that formerly served as the neighborhood HOA community center.
  • Crash closes I-75 NB in Manatee County

    Crash closes I-75 NB in Manatee County

    Friday, August 22 2014 5:39 PM EDT2014-08-22 21:39:17 GMT
    Deadly crash in Manatee County.Deadly crash in Manatee County.
    There is a deadly accident on Northbound I-75 in Manatee County right now.The crash involves a tanker truck and multiple other vehicles. All Northbound lanes on I-75 near Ellenton are closed right now,
    There is a deadly accident on Northbound I-75 in Manatee County right now.The crash involves a tanker truck and multiple other vehicles. All Northbound lanes on I-75 near Ellenton are closed right now,
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.