A new law that would ban texting while driving has passed the Florida State Senate in a 34-4 vote last week. Now, however, it must pass the House where there is expected to be some resistance.
According to the Herald Tribune, the Chair of the House Finance and Tax Council believes that not only is there not enough time left in the session to pass the measure but that the measure needs to address “distractions” in general and not just texting. Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff accurately points out that technology quickly finds its way around distracting practices with time and the same will likely happen with texting.
The new law would assess a fine for a first time offense, and a fine and three points on a second offense. If the texting causes an accident, six points will be assessed. In order for the fine and points to be assessed it is said that the police must see the driver composing a message—which seems to open up many questions.
For instance, what is considered a text message? Does the law apply to sending emails? What about clicking buttons to open an email simply to read it? Does thumbing through your contact list to find a phone number count as a text message and if not, how would an officer know from afar that you aren’t doing exactly that?
Time will tell if the measure passes but if it does, the language will need to be tightened up in order to prevent a windfall of challenges.
Oftentimes people think all traffic offenses are minor. This isn’t necessarily true. A reckless driving charge, even when no damage is caused, can carry up to 90 days in jail. If you are convicted of reckless driving with property damage or injury, however, you could face up to one entire year in jail.
Even driving offenses can forever tarnish your driving record and even your criminal record. If you are facing criminal traffic charges and need assistance, call me today.