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Under legislation filed in the Florida Senate on Tuesday, Drivers would be banned from typing or reading texts, emails or other electronic messages while operating a car.

The measure (SB 52), filed by Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, calls for the offense to be what is known as a “secondary offense,” meaning officers could only ticket people for texting while driving if they’ve stopped them for some other traffic violation. That is, if a police officer sees someone texting they wouldn’t be able to pull them over.
Drivers would still be able to read navigational devices or electronic maps. Reading weather alerts or other safety-related information would also be allowed.

Texting while driving would be a nonmoving violation, punishable by a $30 fine, under the bill.

Lawmakers will be in full session in March, but bills can be filed now and committee meetings on proposed legislation start Dec. 3. Detert’s was among the first measures in the Senate to emerge from bill drafting for the coming year.
The National Transportation Safety Board has urged Florida and other states to ban the use of cell phones for texting or talking while driving. The NTSB said last year that distracted driving, some of it due to cell phone use, contributed to nearly 4,000 highway deaths a year, citing National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.
Detert has sponsored the proposal in at least the past two previous years with no success, despite generally bipartisan support.

The idea has generally been met with opposition from Libertarian-leaning lawmakers from rural areas who have a philosophical aversion to government imposing additional safety laws.

Two legislators who in the past have held the legislation up in committee — former Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff in the Senate and former Rep. Brad Drake in the House — are no longer in the Legislature.

Classifying this as a “secondary offense” seems quite worthless but I guess if the law encourages even a few people not to text while driving, that’s one less distracted driver on the road.