Law Offices of Tragos, Sartes, and Tragos Articles New Florida Bill Might Make Touching Your Cell Phone While Driving Illegal

New Florida Bill Might Make Touching Your Cell Phone While Driving Illegal

By Peter Tragos  Mar. 29, 2019 12:30p

Right now, Florida is one of only three states that doesn’t have a specific law banning texting while driving, but that may be about to change.

A recent bill proposed by state Rep. Jackie Toledo would make it not only illegal to text and drive, but also to even hold your phone when driving. This bill comes after a similar hands-free cell phone law in Georgia was put into effect last summer.

The consequences of texting and driving

Florida is currently one of the most deadly states for car accidents.

Lawmakers feel like a change is essential for the safety of Florida drivers, passengers and pedestrians. Georgia has already seen an 11 percent drop in the number of car accident fatalities since the cell phone law went into effect.

If this new Florida cell phone law passes, it would mean that drivers would be limited to calls with an earpiece, using speakerphone or connecting the call directly to their vehicle. Florida drivers would also be banned from texting, emailing and social media while driving.

Since about 25 percent of accidents are caused by some form of distracted driving (anything from shaving to changing music to texting), Florida lawmakers are hopeful this bill would drastically reduce the number of distracted driving accidents, injuries and fatalities.

In 2015 alone, there were 3,477 deaths across the U.S. due to distracted driving.

Rep. Toledo recently said in a press conference, “Distracted driving can have deadly consequences, and it’s time we finally address this public safety crisis…This bill will hopefully act as a deterrent and make our roads safer.”

This is the second time Rep. Toledo has proposed a cell phone law to the Florida legislature. The first bill passed in the House, but not in the Senate. Toledo is hopeful that this one will make it through.

Texting while driving in Florida is currently a secondary offense, which means officers cannot pull a driver over just for texting or using their phone while driving. The driver has to be committing another driving-related offense in addition to phone use. This bill would change texting or phone use to a primary offense, which would follow the same rule as 14 other U.S. states.

Listen up: Changes to Florida’s texting and driving law were originally discussed on the Tragos Law podcast

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