This week Governor Rick Scott signed SB 52 at Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Senior High School, banning the use of wireless communications devices while driving.
Governor Scott said, “As a father and a grandfather, texting while driving is something that concerns me when my loved ones are on the road. The 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are known as the deadliest days on the road for teenagers. We must do everything we can at the state level to keep our teenagers and everyone on our roads safe. I cannot think of a better time to officially sign this bill into law.”
The bill will prohibit individuals from manually imputing letters, numbers, symbols or any other characters into a wireless communications device. This bill will include text messaging, emailing, social networking and any other type of messaging through smartphones or tablets while operating a motor vehicle. This makes Florida the 40thstate to enact a texting while driving ban on drivers.
The way the law has been written makes this a secondary offense to read or send a text. What that means is drivers cannot be stopped primarily for this, they can only be issued a ticket if seen doing this while being pulled over for another driving violation. At this time the penalties are light, amounting to $30 plus court costs for a 1st offense and $60 plus court cost for a 2nd offense.
While the legal penalties are not all that stringent at this point in time we must still remember the life ones are. Texting and driving has taken several lives and that alone is enough to reason to put the phone down or safely pull over.