Anything that takes a person’s attention away from the road is considered distracted driving. Today, most cases of distracted driving involve talking or texting on a cell phone. However, changing radio stations, eating and drinking, or even talking to other people in the vehicle could be considered distracted driving. Distracted driving is deadly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving was responsible for crashes that killed 3,166 people in 2017 alone. Many states have laws that make it illegal to be talking or texting on a cell phone while driving. However, some states do not allow authorities to pull over a driver for this reason alone.
The Miami Herald reports on a bill that would allow police to pull over a driver for texting while driving.
On Monday, April 29th, the Florida House voted 108-7 to approve a bill that would allow police officers to pull over drivers that are seen texting and driving. The bill is headed to the desk of Governor Bill DeSantis to be signed.
If DeSantis approves the bill, beginning on January 1, 2020, police would be able to pull over motorists who are texting and driving and issue a citation.
In Florida, texting while driving is already illegal. However, a glitch in the law does not allow officers to pull over drivers who are spotted texting while driving. For years, legislators have searched for a solution, but racial profiling was a concern.
While typing on a cell phone while driving would be illegal, talking on a cell phone while driving would still be allowed.
A grace period would be allowed where police officers would issue warnings instead of tickets. The grace period would begin on October 1, 2019, and run through January 1, 2020.