It was a long time coming, but Gov. Rick Scott signed into law Tuesday a ban on texting while driving that will save lives and make the roads safer. Efforts by Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, and other supporters took years to pay off, but now Florida will join 40 other states when the ban goes into effect Oct. 1. This is a tribute to perseverance and common sense, giving drivers another reason to keep their eyes on the road and off their smartphones.
The new law will be a secondary offense, meaning drivers can only be ticketed for texting if they are stopped for speeding or some other violation. Drivers are still permitted to text while stopped in traffic or at a traffic light. Fines range from $30 plus court costs for a first offense and $60 for a second offense.
Florida's texting ban is a modest start. Other states impose more severe sanctions on motorists caught texting while driving or make it a primary offense. But after five long years fighting to win approval of a texting ban, Detert and her colleagues can claim a significant victory in taking a reasonable step toward making Florida's roads safer.