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Florida distracted driving measure set to become law

To follow up on several previous posts, Florida lawmakers have passed a tougher law that will hopefully curb this state’s ongoing problem with texting and driving and other distracted driving. The measure still awaits the governor’s approval, but he is expected to sign the legislation.

The new measure went through several versions and hearings as it made its way through both chambers of the Florida Legislature. In its final form, the measure will give Florida law enforcement authorities the power to pull over those who are texting and driving even if the motorist is not breaking any other laws.

However, police will only issue warnings once they begin enforcing the law in October 2019 and will continue to do so through January 2020. Even after police start issuing citations, those who are not habitual violators may have the ability to get their citations dismissed or avoid having it affect their motor vehicle record.

Moreover, the new law will also make it illegal for people to use any handheld electronic device, even for a conventional phone call, upon entering a construction zone or a school zone.

The data continues to show that distracted driving is a common problem that, arguably, is getting worse as time goes on. This epidemic has taken its toll on this state in the form of a higher rate of traffic fatalities.

While a tougher law will hopefully help, there will no doubt be some people in Coral Gables and throughout South Florida who will choose to pick up their phones while driving. If such drivers cause auto accidents that lead to serious injuries, these motorists may be required to pay compensation.