It's official. Floridians now must resist the urge to text and drive.
The Sunshine State today becomes the 41st to ban texting while driving. The law could have been stronger — drivers can only be pulled over if police see another driving offense — and the state could have been more aggressive in publicizing it. But at least state law now reflects common sense, and that should make roads safer.
For years, research has shown that texting from a mobile device while behind the wheel of a moving car can render the driver as impaired as one who is intoxicated. Yet year after year in Tallahassee, special interests thwarted attempts to ban texting, persuading some lawmakers to call it government overreach. But regulating behavior that needlessly puts innocent lives at risk should never have taken so long.
School districts and law enforcement agencies are to be commended. Many of them have taken up the public awareness campaign that Gov. Rick Scott scuttled when he vetoed a $1 million appropriation aimed at publicizing the new law. But all Floridians, not just teenagers, need to get the message that texting while driving is illegal. Lives depend on it.