The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has called for all states to ban talking, texting and emailing while driving, which includes talking on hands-free devices.
As in many other states, Florida's laws on the use of cellphones fall short of the NTSB's recommendation. Florida remains one of only 15 states that do not ban texting while driving. Although Florida lawmakers have tried to make the practice illegal, they have fallen short as of yet.
Currently, two bills that would ban text messaging while driving have been submitted by Rep. Ray Pilon, R-Sarasota, and Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice. Detert’s Senate Bill 416 cleared the Senate Transportation Committee on Dec. 7 and then the Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee on Jan. 12. Detert’s first bill on the issue, SB 158 of 2011, died in the Senate Transportation Committee.
At least six distracted driving bills have been filed for the 2012 legislative session. Florida is one of a few states that have no limits on text messaging and talking on mobile phones while driving, despite numerous and repeated attempts by legislators. Florida distracted driving can result in serious injuries and death for drivers, passengers and pedestrians. Regardless of whether the current proposed legislation passes, Florida drivers need to be vigilant and avoid distracted driving.