TALLAHASSEE, FL (NSF) - Drivers would be banned from manually typing or reading texts, emails or other electronic messages while operating a car under legislation filed in the Senate Tuesday.
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 but if they see someone speeding and texting, they could tack on extra charges for texting in addition to the speeding penalty.
Drivers would still be able to read navigational devices or electronic maps without incurring a penalty under the proposal. Reading weather alerts or other safety-related information would also be exempt, as would using a hands-free voice-recognition application.
Texting while driving would be a nonmoving violation, punishable by a $30 fine, under the bill.
According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, Florida is one of only five states without some sort of ban on texting while driving. The others are Montana, South Dakota, Arizona, and South Carolina...
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