By: Matt Horn
September 27, 2013
After years of pushing a new texting and driving ban will go into effect early next week. On October 1, Florida becomes the 41st state to ban texting while driving, but the state’s version is one of the weakest in the nation.
“I hope we can do better and as time goes on, we will,” said Ron Richardson, Drivers Education Instructor.
Texting while driving is a secondary offense. Which means you must commit another violation before an officer can pull you over.
A first offense will cost you thirty dollars. Unless there is a fatal accident or injury, police can’t search your phone records. Still after five years of trying, sponsor Doug Holder is happy to finally have something on the books.
“It’s been a lot of hard work. But, it’s been a good effort on everyone’s part for everyone on the team,” said Holder.
Lawmakers also refused to fund an anti texting campaign, but the Florida Highway patrol is using existing resources to get the word out.
“We’re going to be out there, it’s just another statute we’re going to be looking for, so if we see somebody texting and driving we will pull them over and stop that behavior,” said Nancy Rasmussen, Florida Highway Patrol Captain.
Richardson says regardless of the laws weaknesses, it will be a great teaching lesson for students.
“It gives me extra information, be able to let them know distracted driving, which this is really about, they need to understand they need to be completely focused 100-percent of the time when they’re behind the wheel,” he said.
A second offense will cost motorists sixty dollars. Getting in a crash will add six points to your license.