Florida senator Maria Sachs, democrat of Delray Beach, and Florida representative Richard Stark, democrat of Weston, filed bills in September and August, respectively, suggesting that fines for texting while driving in school zones should be doubled. Sachs and Stark both filed bills earlier this year that aimed to change texting while driving from a secondary offense to a primary offense. These bills, however, died without making it to the floor in either the house or senate.
The current Florida state law on texting and driving says that a driver can only be ticketed for texting while driving if they were pulled over for violating another traffic law. In this case, the driver is fined $30 for their first offense and $60 for their second offense.
Florida is one of only eight states that have no laws specifically restricting texting or talking on a cell phone while driving. In 10 states and Washington D.C., using a cell phone, for any reason, is prohibited for drivers of all ages.
Texting behind the wheel makes a crash up to 23 times more likely. Of drivers ages 18-20 who were involved in auto accidents, 13% say they were talking on the phone or texting when the accident occurred. Of new drivers ages 16-17, 52% admit to talking on the phone while driving and 34% admit to texting while driving.
Young drivers are not the only ones distracted by their phone while behind the wheel. In fact, 27% of adults say that they have texted while driving and 48% of children 12-17 years old have been in the car while the driver was using his or her cell phone.
While the new bills proposed by Sachs and Stark would apply only to school zones, the bill’s passing would be a step in the right direction for Florida’s policy on cell phone use while driving. If you or a loved one are involved in an auto accident, contact us at (888) 973-2776 to schedule a free consultation and speak with one of our trusted personal injury attorneys today!