Texting While Driving Bill Running on Empty - NBC 6 South Florida

Texting While Driving Bill Running on Empty

State ban on cell use while driving not likely to pass

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    Texting While Driving Bill Running on Empty
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    Florida pols who want texting drivers to put down their phones and keep their eyes on the road are watching their bills run out of gas.

    Florida pols who want texting drivers to put down their phones and keep their eyes on the road are watching their bills run out of gas.

    The bills, which would ban texting and using cell phones while behind the wheel, aren't likely to pass through the state Legislature. 

    "I really don't think (drivers) understand the risk for other drivers and the risk they're taking when they pick that phone up and begin to dial and text message," said Sen. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami, who co-sponsored the ban on text messaging devices.

    Though 10 states already ban texting while driving and another six ban the use of cell phones while behind the wheel, Wilson isn't optimistic about the chances of her bill passing.

    "I know the lawmakers don't want to do anything about it," Wilson said. "They have a little term, 'We can't legislate everything.' It's taking forever to get this bill through a committee and it's been filed year after year."

    The Florida bill would be called "Heather's Law," named after a young woman killed in 2007 on State Road 27 in Polk County as she drove to meet a wedding planner at Walt Disney World. Her vehicle was hit by a truck whose driver was text messaging and never hit his brakes.

    Russell Hurd, Heather's father, has been lobbying hard to pass the ban.

    "To lose someone you love that much is very difficult and then to find out that it was absolutely needless, it just made it 10 times worse if that's even possible," Hurd said. "I realize the gentlemen that was driving the truck that day didn't set out to kill two people. But he made some terrible decisions."

    Other proposed bills that aren't likely to pass include one that prohibits drivers under 18 from using cell phones and another that prohibits talking on cell phones in school zones.

    "It's a no-brainer. Texting in particular is a unique distraction," Hurd said. "You have to take your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road."