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

Scott Richardson, 52, co-owner of Northwest Seafood Inc., fillets fresh-caught red grouper purchased from one of Northwest Seafood’s trusted fisherman in Yankeetown, Florida. “It pays to know your fish man,” said Lee Deaderick, Richardson’s business partner.

Florida Fishermen Face Fierce Competition

Florida fisherman are concerned with the growing taste for imported fish. As imports from other countries increase, questions of ethics and safety are floating to the surface.


BearHunt1

Protestors Voice Concern Over Proposed Bear Hunt

Protesters voiced their opposition to the proposed bear hunt on Monday outside of the Ocala office for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. The FWC is expected to vote on the issue Wednesday.


John King, recreational fisherman from Dunnellon, Fla., shows off a red snapper caught during the 2013 season. King said recreational fishermen should have longer than 10 days to catch and keep red snapper this year.

Amendment 40 Splits Red Snapper Season, Extending For Charters

Red snapper season was divided on June 1 into two recreational sectors: federal for-hire charter captains and private recreational fishermen. The season for recreational fisherman will be limited to 10 consecutive days, ending at 12:01 a.m. on June 11.


House, Senate Still Stuck in Health Debate

Florida legislators began a special session Monday to pass a budget for the year beginning July 1. But the House and Senate are still in a stalemate over whether to adopt a Senate proposal use Medicaid expansion money from the Affordable Care Act to help lower-income Floridians purchase private health insurance.


Court Limits Damages In UCF Player’s Death

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday the parents of University of Central Florida football player, Ereck Plancher, are limited to collecting $200,000 in a lawsuit they filed against UCF Athletics Association, Inc. Plancher collapsed and died in March 2008 after off-season football drills supervised by football coach George O’Leary.


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