A Florida Senate committee is taking the first step towards banning texting while driving. The effort is happening as support for the law appears to be at its highest.
The Senate bill would make texting while driving a secondary offense, which means officers could add a $30 fine to a ticket issued to a driver who is stopped for another violation.
This isn’t the first time lawmakers in Florida have tried to enact such a law. Efforts to ban texting while driving date back a decade. Florida remains one of six states without a ban. In each of the past four years, similar legislation has been defeated in both the Florida House and Senate.
Despite this difficult history, support for the law appears higher than ever this year. According to a poll by Bay News 9 in St. Petersburg, local residents overwhelmingly favor a ban on texting while driving. The poll surveyed residents of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties and found that 89 percent would like to see the bill become law. These results are significantly higher than last year’s numbers, with 71 percent of respondents in 2012 saying they supported a texting ban.
Even local companies are throwing their support behind the bill. Most notably, Walt Disney World announced this week that it’s joining the effort to stop texting behind the wheel. Disney announced recently that it’s joining a coalition of state and national organizations to support legislation to stop motorists from using cellphones while driving.
Disney cited statistics from the National Safety Council, noting that 100,000 crashes happen each year in the United States because of distracted drivers. Indeed, the statistics regarding distracted driving are alarming. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, texting behind the wheel creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds.
The law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, urges all Florida drivers to pay attention behind the wheel. If you or someone you love has been injured by a distracted driver in Florida, talk to an experienced Florida accident attorney. Call us today at (800) 299-8878 or fill out our convenient online contact form for a free consultation.