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War on Texters

July 30th, 2009 by flanews

A congressional plan to ban texting while driving could cost Florida more than three- hundred million dollars. The legislation would penalize states without a ban by withholding 25 percent of their federal highway funds. As Whitney Ray tells us, state lawmakers have already responded with a bill against driving while texting.

This Florida State Senior is so addicted to text messaging, he keeps typing away, even from behind the wheel.

I keep the phone by the steering wheel and Im texting and looking at the light and its giving me something to do while Im driving, said the senior who didnt want us to use his name. Do you see any danger in that at all, asked a reporter. Oh yeah. Im a risk management major and I think its probably one of the most dangerous things to do, the senior answered.

People who text while driving are 20 times more likely to wreck. 14 states have already ban texting while driving, but not Florida. Congressional legislation would penalize states without a ban by withholding 25 percent of their federal highway funding. Doug Calloway, President of Floridians for Better Transportation, says thats not fair.

The money we are talking about is our money. Those are our state gas tax dollars that are sent to Washington and should be returned to improve transportation in Florida, said Calloway.

Lawmakers have two years to pass the texting ban before being penalized. Legislation to ban texting while driving failed in the state legislature last year, but a new bill has already been filed.

Andrea Miklos isnt waiting for the law to change. She keeps her phone out of reach when shes on the road.

Its annoying. I hear it and it annoys me, but I wait until I stop, said Andrea.

For three straight years legislation to ban texting while driving has failed in Florida.

Posted in State News | 3 Comments »

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