To Deter Texting While Driving, Bill Sponsor Says, Start With School Zones

Dec 2, 2013

A Florida House bill would double the penalty for texting while driving through school zones. One of the bill’s sponsors says, although he’d like to enact a texting ban with more teeth, a small change to last year’s texting ban has a better chance of passing the Legislature.

The state’s texting ban is too weak, according to Rep. Richard Stark (D-Weston), because it allows ticketing only after drivers are pulled over for something else. But he says because that watered-down ban barely passed the Legislature, he doesn’t foresee a full-on ban passing just months later.

“And it seems that the only way for the Legislature to increase the penalties for texting while driving is to do it incrementally," he says.

His bill does not make texting a primary offense, but it would double the fine for texting while driving in a school zone—that’s from $30 to $60. Stark says he and Senate sponsor Jeremy Ring (D-Margate) filed the bills after hearing the idea from high school students in their district.

Meanwhile,  Sen. Maria Sachs (D-Delray Beach) has filed a bill making texting a primary offense.