Florida has a texting while driving ban. But to put it bluntly, the law lacks some teeth. The lawmakers approved a version of the texting ban law in 2013 which Fort Lauderdale DUI attorneys say is a complete ‘joke’. Precisely because the law keeps texting while driving as a secondary offense in the law books, making it easier for drivers who are distracted to get away with just a stern warning.
Unless of course the texting is compounded by some other offense such as a drunk driving violation or a license suspension. But by itself, the texting ban does nothing to curb distracted driving in a state where distracted driving is one of the leading causes for teenage driver accidents, according to the Florida DMV website.
Law has not been enforced as thought
When Governor Rick Scott inked the deal last year, he had said that he thought that the law will prove to be effective as the teenage crowd in the state actually wanted it to work. Gov. Scott had famously said that he thought people “wanted to comply” with the ban on texting while driving. Well, he has been proved wrong very badly. The law has kept only a minimum of $30 as fine for being caught texting while behind the wheels.
No matter how dangerous the act of texting while driving actually is, the ban and the fine are not reason enough for anyone to stop voluntarily. For drivers who get caught a second time, the fine is a small raise at $60 and it is sure to take away three points from your driver’s license. But yet again, not enough to make someone stop checking that buzzing cell phone when they are on the road.
Only 1,800 citations in almost a year
It took years of fighting by Republican Senator Nancy Detert, and Sen. Maria Sachs to get the law passed. For years, the members of the Legislature in Florida kept saying that they were worried about the invasion of privacy if they put into action a law that stopped teenagers from risking their own lives when driving.
Nine months since it took effect, the law has been found so difficult to enforce that it is almost rarely used. The first year of the law’s enforcement is almost at an end and law enforcement officers have issued fewer than 1,800 citations so far say Fort Lauderdale DUI accident attorneys.
Changes can be still made
Now, the state lawmakers have another chance to make things better. Rep. Rick Stark, has filed a bill that promises to make texting while driving a primary offense under the eyes of the law. The National Safety Council estimates that as many as 200,000 accidents happen every year due to distracted driving in the country and cell phone use is a major reason. The statistics by themselves are enough to goad any caring lawmaker into changing the existing law and making it stricter so that our roads could be safer. Is anyone in Florida listening?