photo credit: Joe Sohm

Words by: Lakayra Larramore

According to ABC Action News, Florida is finally pushing to put a ban on texting while driving under A bill that has been passed by Florida House.

In this day in age, the use of wireless devices has become a part of our everyday routine. They have also become a distraction for many Tallahassee drivers. There are forty-three states that currently treat texting while driving as a primary offense. But, Florida is not one of them.

Texting while driving for non-commercial drivers is a secondary offense. This means officers are not allowed to pull over drivers solely for texting while behind the wheel. Officers must pull non-commercial drivers over for another reason, such as running a red light, to give them a citation for using their cellular devices while driving.

However, that has all changed. The Senate voted 112-2 Thursday for the legislation to try and stop the usage of wireless communication devices while driving and there are many officials who believe it is overdue. Deputy Grady Jordan believes the bill should be passed. He agrees that “it will reduce many fatalities and injuries on the road.”

There are some who are against the bill. According to News for JAX, a top Senate Republican Sen. Rob Bradley, has blocked the bill. Bradley, said, “he’s concerned about giving extra power to the police and about privacy rights because they may have to inspect cell phones to prove someone was texting.” However, according to the bill officials are required to inform drivers of their rights to decline a search of their cellular devices if a warrant is not present.

As stated by the department of driving safety, there have been 49,235 distracted driving crashes as of 2016. Over nine-hundred of these crashes were in Leon County alone. Despite those numbers, the usage of mobile devices still holds tolerable penalties. The first offense is only a $30 fine. The second offense is bumped up to a $60 fine with court cost and three points added to your driving record.

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