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Proposed Law Could Make Texting While Driving a Primary Offense
By now, everyone knows that texting while driving is dangerous - even deadly. Yet Florida remains one of the few states where the act remains a secondary offense, rather than a primary offense. But that may change with the 2015 Florida legislative session.
Lawmakers in the Sunshine State last year enacted a ban on texting while driving, citing statistics that show the issue causes more than 3,300 deaths and 420,000 injuries each year, according to a Harvard Center for Risk Analysis study. But the new law falls far short of other state's efforts to curb these types of accidents . That's because the offense is categorized as a secondary offense, which means that a police officer cannot stop a driver for texting while behind the wheel alone. Instead, the move must be prompted by the driver committing a primary offense like speeding.
That secondary offense classification has rendered the ban highly ineffective. In fact, statistics show that Florida's law enforcement officers likely will issue fewer than 1,800 texting-while-driving citations throughout all of 2014. Consider that at any given daylight hour, nearly 40,000 drivers traveling Florida's streets and highways also are using cell phones, and the potential danger is clear.
To help curb that ever-present danger, Florida Representative Richard Stark recently proposed a new bill that, if passed, will make texting while driving a primary offense and double the current fine for texting while driving in a school zone. The 2015 session begins in March and the new law could take effect as early as October.
If you or your loved ones are injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, get medical treatment immediately. Then, contact Todd E. Copeland & Associates at 407-999-8995.