WUFT News

Florida Senate committee approves bill banning texting while driving

By on February 8th, 2013

Florida is one of five states that does not outlaw texting while driving, but state lawmakers appear close to changing that with a proposed bill.

The Florida Senate Transportation Committee unanimously approved a bill Wednesday that would make texting while driving a traffic offense.

University of Florida student Kimberly Percuoco knows firsthand the dangers of texting while driving.

“I was texting like an idiot, and there was a bus in front of me with a few cars behind it,” Percuoco said. “I slammed on my brakes, rear-ended the person in front of me, and the lady, of course, wanted to press charges. And I got a $187 ticket.”

Senate bill 52 aims to crack down on texting behind the wheel by making it a secondary offense, which means drivers could be fined for texting if they are pulled over for something else.

Ben Tobias, Gainesville Police Department spokesman, said the bill is the first step toward making texting and driving a serious offense.

“A seatbelt infraction for the longest time was a secondary offense,” Tobias said. “Now that we see that seatbelts are now a primary offense, maybe this could be a steppingstone for a texting ordinance where it’ll move into a primary offense some time soon.”

Traffic laws against hazardous driving are already in place, but cell phone use is often the cause of careless driving, Tobias said.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates drivers are more than 23 times more likely to get in an accident when texting behind the wheel.

Percuoco said she doesn’t want to have to worry about getting another ticket or getting in another accident.

The bill must go through several more committees before reaching the Senate floor, but a similar bill is also pending in the House.

Emily Stanton edited this online.


This entry was posted in Florida and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • J.R.

    SilentPocket™ provides a tool to help not only teens but everyone from
    being distracted by cell phones. One of these tools is the SilentPocket. If we
    start getting people to use the SilentPocket™ “It will save lives” Out
    site out of mind. Helps prevent texting and driving. Voicemail rings, beeps,
    blings or vibes will not be heard. Voicemail, Texts and email will be received
    once the device is taken out of the SilentPocket. Get informed at Silent-pocket

 

More Stories in Florida

Bill Would Allow University Foundations to Discuss Research in Private

House Bill 115 passed Thursday with a vote of 83-33. The bill proposes the creation of secret meetings, which would be exempt from public records laws, when universities foundations discuss research proposals and money.


Visual for the “Staying Alive on I-75” campaign

Spreading Distracted Driving Awareness In Florida And Beyond

Distracted driving was the focus of a recent Interstate 75 campaign. Nationwide efforts are also being made to address this issue.


Photos from former Florida Governor Reubin Askew's visit to the University of Florida's  Bob Graham Center for Public Service on Nov. 14, 2011.

Former Florida Gov. Reubin Askew Dies At 85

Former Florida Gov. Reubin Askew, recognized for bringing transparency to Florida politics, died Thursday morning.


The Lake Butler Children’s Splash Park is located by the lake’s community center and children’s park. The park is intended to expose younger children to safe physical activity.

Lake Butler Children’s Splash Park to Open in March

The city of Lake Butler is opening a splash park on March 20, located by the lake’s community center and children’s park. The park is designed for kids age 13 and under and will expose children to safe physical activity.


GALLERY: Thousands Gather for 150th Anniversary of Civil War Battle

The 38th Annual Olustee Battle Re-Enactment took place last weekend in Lake City, Fla.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments