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Watered-down ban on texting and driving on its way to Gov. Scott

by Dara Kam | May 2nd, 2013

It could soon be against the law to text and drive under a diluted ban on its way to Gov. Rick Scott.

Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, asked her colleagues to support the House version of the bill (SB 52) despite a provision that prohibits a motorist’s cell phone records being used by prosecutors except in cases involving a crash resulting in death or personal injury. The Senate passed the measure with a 39-1 vote, with Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, casting the only “no” vote.

For three years, the Florida House has refused to sign off on the texting and driving ban.
“For the first time ever they have a speaker over there that allowed them to speak on this bill. That was the good news. The bad news was I didn’t like what they said,” Detert said this afternoon.

Critics of the modified bill say it will make it harder for law enforcement to prove drivers were texting. The measure makes texting while driving a secondary offense, meaning drivers would have to be pulled over for something else in order to get a ticket for texting.

Drivers who do get ticketed for texting can voluntarily bring their own records to court to prove they weren’t breaking the law, Detert said.

“And frankly they probably won’t do that over a $30 ticket,” she said.

Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, asked if the amendment regarding the phone records “doesn’t take all the meat and potatoes” out of the bill, approved unanimously in its original version by the Senate earlier in the session.

But Detert said it was better to pass the ban instead of changing it and sending it back to the House where it could risk languishing before the session ends tomorrow.

“Basically this bill is still a good bill. It still will allow parents today to say to their kids don’t text while driving it’s against the law,” Detert said. “It really will save lives and it boils down to it’s either against the law or not.”

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6 Responses to “Watered-down ban on texting and driving on its way to Gov. Scott”

  1. Thom Burke Says:

    It’s a first step. A lot of driving laws are first introduced as secondary offenses, then after a few years, once the public is comfortable with them, they’re moved up to primary offenses. That’s how mandatory seat belts was introduced.

  2. Thom Burke Says:

    It’s a first step. A lot of driving laws are first introduced as secondary offenses, then after a few years, once the public is comfortable with them, they’re moved up to primary offenses. That’s how mandatory seat belts was introduced.

  3. Mike Says:

    Texting and driving will be a secondary offense so as long as you aren’t speeding, you can still text and drive and not get a ticket. This law is worthless. Only reason Rick Scott is pushing this is because he hasn’t done a thing in the past 3 years and election time is coming up.
    It will still be legal to hold a phone to your ear, eat, read a magazine, put on makeup, drink, play with kids, shave, brush your hair, and text while driving

  4. Hank Shae Says:

    with some idiots anything Gov Scott does is wrong and anything Obaba does is right. Mostly transported retired northern folks who have ruined their cities with huge debts and taxes and want to do the same here.

  5. 1952tat2 Says:

    It might be a “first step”, but therein lies the problem: “first steps” are rarely (if ever) revisited; in other words, there are no “second steps”… not even “first-and-a-half steps” — what’s done, is done… over… finished… and we’ll be left with an inadequate law, one which fails to give full credit to texting-while-driving for the dangerous action that it is.

    It is foolish to make it a “secondary” offense; requiring that it be combined with a “primary” offense — such as speeding — is yet another “epic fail”. What’s absurd about this is that people who text while driving invariably drive _slower_ — another reason why they cause accidents.

    Yes, another reason why I stopped driving.

  6. ANTON CANADA Says:

    Once again the politicians in Florida bow to the corporate pressures from Att, Verizon etc so the stupid public here can carry cellphones to their grave. Idiots vote for idiots,

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