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Gov. Scott Outlaws Texting and Driving in Miami

May 28th, 2013 by flanews

Florida Governor Rick Scott today signed legislation banning texting while driving. Even though the bill restricts makes texting and driving illegal, the new legislation is being called one of the weakest laws in the country.

After five years of trying, Florida is now the 41st state with a texting ban. “I’m excited we’ve finally gotten to the point to where the final signature is going on the texting ban,” said (R) District 74 Representative, Doug Holder.

Lawmakers anticipate the new texting ban will prevent accidents. As a secondary offense, police must see another violation to stop a driver. Drivers Ed Instructor Michael Blain says the law won’t have the same effect as a primary violation. “I think it would have been much better if it was a primary offense, allowing police officers to actually actively look for texting while driving,” said Blain.

Even though it’s new here, four states have similar laws. One of them, Virginia, is changing its texting and driving from a secondary to a primary offense in July.
Lawmakers here in Florida say this new law will still keep people safer than before. “There are eleven teenagers that die every day in United States from texting while driving,” said Representative Holder. “Twenty-five percent of all accidents are now attributed to texting while driving.”

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee study shows in the months following a texting and driving ban, the number of accidents go down. But, after a few months, the study shows drivers go back to old habits.

“It’s a good step in the right direction, it’s the first step,” said Blain. “I don’t think its Panacea; I don’t think its going to correct all of the problems.”

Opponents argued the law isn’t needed because it’s already illegal to drive carelessly. Distracted drivers caused more than 4 thousand accidents last year.

The texting law will go into effect starting October 1st.

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