Florida gives texting ban another shot
For the past three years, Republican Senator Nancy Detert has tried to convince her fellow lawmakers to ban texting while driving in Florida, without success. And for the fourth consecutive year, she’s giving it another try.
“I am a big fan of personal freedom, doing whatever you want in your automobile, as long as you don’t take me out with you,” said Sen. Detert, R-Venice during the committee hearing.
The Florida Senate Transportation Committee has approved in a unanimous vote a proposal to make texting while driving a secondary offense, meaning the citation could be given after police officers have pulled drivers over for another infraction. According to SB 416, a first offense would mean a $30 fine. Subsequent offenses within five years would translate into a fine of $60 and 3 points against the driver’s license. Moreover, motorists causing an accident while using a wireless communications device would receive 6 points against their license.
Sen. Detert even convinced Committee Chairman Sen. Jack Latvala, who was initially against the idea.
“I think it’s important we send this out of here with a loud message, so I’m going to vote with you today,” said Latvala before voting in favor of SB 416.
Florida lawmakers will return to work in January 2012 to vote on the measure.
Source: Orlando Sentinel, December 13, 2011