Florida is one of the few states in the country where texting and driving is a secondary offense. This particular form of distracted driving is formally described as “operating a motor vehicle in motion while manually typing into a wireless communications device.” It is against the law, but police are not allowed to pull you over if that happens to be the only crime they catch you committing behind the wheel.
As it stands now, a police officer would have to see you texting while speeding, or a driving with broken tail light before you could be ticketed for distracted driving. State Representative Emily Slosberg has been working for years to make texting and driving a primary offense so that police could use it as the sole reason for pulling over and ticketing a driver. Slosberg, who represents Boca Raton in the legislature, has a particular passion for safer driving laws. In 1996, she was in a car crash that killed 5 teenagers, including her twin sister. Police cited distracted driving as a cause of the fatal crash.
Driven to Work for Safety on the Road
Slosberg has been traveling to cities and counties across Florida to get them to pass resolutions supporting her bill in the state legislature to make texting and driving a primary offense. “Currently, they can see a 17-year-old looking on Google Maps, texting, Snapchatting or Instagramming, and they cannot pull that driver over,” Slosberg told the Boca Raton City Council. “Almost every other state in the country enforces this as a primary offense. Distracted driving fatalities and distracted driving injuries are increasing. This is preventable. Our law should be addressing this.”
In addition to Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Miami, four Florida counties have approved Sloberg’s resolution. Her efforts appear to be a having an effect. A bill similar to Slosberg’s legislative proposal in the House recently advanced in the state Senate. The bill to make texting and driving a primary offense could become law in 2018.
Every year, distracted driving accidents injure more than 40,000 people in Florida. Contact the Orlando car accident attorneys at Martinez Manglardi if you are a car accident injury victim. Call 407-846-2240 for a free consultation.