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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Ban on texting while driving: Possible in Florida next year?



Florida remains one of 15 states without a ban on texting while driving, even as more people admit to the habit and support a law that would deter it.

There's a chance — a small one — state lawmakers will enact a ban during their 60-day legislative session that starts in January. Experts, though, are split on whether the bans make the roads safer.

A few state senators breathed life into the conversation this week when they approved a proposed (and pretty mild) ban on texting while driving in its first committee hearing.

The proposal, sponsored by Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, would make texting while driving punishable as a secondary offense, meaning law enforcement could not pull motorists over simply for seeing them text. A citation would only be issued on top of some other offense, such as speeding, reckless driving or after a crash.

Bans have failed in Florida over recent years despite widespread public support. Defeat usually comes at the hands of Republicans who view the law as an intrusion of personal liberty. Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, famously blocked a proposed texting ban from being heard in her House committee in 2010, a move that killed the bill.

It is Detert's third time sponsoring what she called her "no-brainer" idea, SB 416. She is also a proponent of small government, she said, but not when privacy overrides public safety.

Story here.

[Last modified: Monday, December 12, 2011 9:24am]


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