Florida Gov. Rick Scott Reviewing Bill Banning Texting While Driving

Proposed Florida law could be hard to prove, local attorney says

By Justin Finch
|  Thursday, May 16, 2013  |  Updated 8:32 AM EDT
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Florida Governor Rick Scott could sign or veto a texting while driving ban as soon as the weekend but so far, he has given no indication which way he is leaning. Attorney David Seltzer comments on the bill.

Florida Governor Rick Scott could sign or veto a texting while driving ban as soon as the weekend but so far, he has given no indication which way he is leaning. Attorney David Seltzer comments on the bill.

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Florida Lawmakers Pass Texting-While-Driving Ban

Florida lawmakers have passed a statewide ban on texting while driving. The Senate passed a bill (SB 52) on Thursday by 39-1. Yessica Torres, whose family member was killed in a texting-while-driving crash, comments. Sen. Nancy Detert and Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca also comment.
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Florida Governor Rick Scott could sign or veto a texting while driving ban as soon as the weekend but so far, he has given no indication which way he is leaning.
 
"As a father and grandfather, you worry about people texting and driving, so I'm reviewing that bill," Scott said Tuesday in Central Florida.

Florida Lawmakers Pass Texting While Driving Ban

The bill has been criticized for not being tough enough. As the measure is written, a driver cannot be pulled over just for texting and driving, but can be pulled over for speeding as a first offense. If an officer finds the driver is also texting, it would count as a secondary offense. That's where some say the bill's flawed.

"If his citation says 'he saw me texting at 6:06 p.m., and I show my text messaging records where I was pulled over at 6:06 p.m., but my text message says it was sent at 6:03 p.m.,'" defense attorney David Seltzer explained. "And by the way, 6:03 p.m., I was stopped at a red light four blocks back. Prove it."

Florida One of 5 States With Texting While Driving Ban

That can be hard to prove, said Seltzer. The measure permits authorities to pull cell phone records if a driver is caught texting in a wreck causing injury or death. A first citation is $30, a second is $60, and three points on a driver's record.

"In some states, such as New York, it's an offense, you get pulled over, and it's a huge fine. Hundreds of dollars," Seltzer said.

A USA Today study found that texting citations can be hard to enforce. The paper reported Louisiana State Police issuing an average of only 18 citations a month since imposing a ban in July 2008.

The difficulty often falls because authorities are finding it difficult to prove a driver was texting.

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