Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia already ban texting behind the wheel. On April 3, Florida moved one step closer to joining that list when a House committee sent a distracted driving bill to the floor for full discussion.
By a vote of 16-1, the House Economic Affairs committee cleared HB 13, which would make texting while driving a secondary offense. The bill is now headed to the House floor for debate.
Under the proposed law, a first violation would result in a $30 fine, plus court costs. The fine increases to $60 for a second violation and three points are added to the driver’s license. Six points are added if a driver causes a crash while texting, and additional penalties are included for driving while texting in a school zone.
A companion bill is also moving forward in the Senate. Both bills ban writing or reading a text while driving, and neither is limited to cellphones. Each bill also covers tablet computers and other handheld electronic devices. However, both proposals allow for texting while stopped at a red light.
Distracted driving legislation is overdue in this state. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 256,443 traffic accidents in 2012 and texting caused 4,841 of them.
A Florida Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
If you or someone you love has been injured by a distracted driver in Florida, you may need an experienced Florida accident and personal injury attorney. Call us today at (800) 299-8878 or fill out our convenient online contact form for a free consultation.
The law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, concentrates on helping accident victims in Stuart, Jupiter, Port St. Lucie, Okeechobee, Fort Pierce, Palm Beach and Vero Beach.