Florida Governor Rick Scott will sign a new law this afternoon, outlawing texting and driving in the state. The law will go into effect on October 1 of this year.
The texting and driving law has been categorized as a secondary offense, meaning Florida residents will only be ticketed if they’re first pulled over for some other offense. Penalties start at 30 dollars for the first offense, with each subsequent offense netting Floridians a 60 dollar fine, plus court costs. In addition, every offense after the first will add three points to your record. For those of you out there who are still too young to drive, points are bad, and add up fast when you do something like, say, get yourself pulled over for committing a blatant offense and deem that the best possible time to text your friends about anything at all.
The law does allow you to text at a stoplight, or with a hands-free device, which studies show can still be tremendously distracting, especially at high speeds.
Earlier this month, CBS New York published a study purporting that texting and driving kills over 3,000 teens annually – more than drunk driving. The study claims that you’re 23 times more likely to crash your vehicle while texting.
With Florida’s law going into effect by the end of the year, texting and driving has now been banned in 10 states, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. Florida’s new law isn’t all that strict in comparison to some of the other states, as a matter of fact – several of them deem it a primary offense. One has to wonder if we’ll be seeing all that many second offenses in Florida, if its residents won’t even be penalized if they’re caught texting and driving on camera.