Posted in: Safety,
by Gregg Laskoski on Apr 23, 2013 06:30 AM
"Slow" may be too kind a word for the Florida state legislature.
Text messaging is banned for all drivers in 39 states and the District of Columbia, according to the Virginia-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and Florida politicos are now taking action since they don't want to appear inept on issues effecting drivers, kids and safety.
According to Reuters, the Florida Senate voted unanimously to ban texting while driving, sending the proposal to the state's House of Representatives where approval is expected.
But don't expect any real impact on safety. The bill would make texting only a "secondary violation," meaning a police officer would have to see a driver doing something else wrong to pull anyone over. And the fine for a first offense doesn't even get an adolescent's attention. $30. That's how they do things in Florida.
How far behind the times is Florida? Senator Nancy Detert, who has been working unsuccessfully for five years to pass a bill told Reuters that texting has become "an epidemic" but her colleagues in the legislature, apparently, have been less aware.
Florida is one of only five U.S. states that does not currently have any restrictions on texting behind the wheel despite the fact that nearly 90 percent of Floridians support a ban.
If the law is passed, a first offense would carry a $30 fine and a second or additional texting incident within five years would be double the fine and add three points against a driver's license. A driver who accumulates 12 points in 12 months would face a 30-day suspension of his license.
The sad thing about all this is that the elected officials who stand ready to comment think they've accomplished something to celebrate... as if this anemic effort serves the public good in a meaningful way. Regretfully, it does not. It's too little; too late.