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Florida Drivers Could Soon Be Pulled Over For Using Their Cell Phones

A person texting while driving
Andrey Popove
/
Adobe Stock

                                                                                                                                                                                                               

A bill that requires drivers to use hands-free devices has one step left to go in the senate.

Senate bill 76 allows a law enforcement officer to pull over people who use their cell phone while driving unless they use a hands-free device or Bluetooth mode. The goal of the bill is to make texting while driving a primary offense instead of a secondary offense to reduce accidents.  Spring Hill, Republican Senator Wilton Simpson is the bill’s sponsor.  

“This is simply a hands-free bill. And we left in the provisions where the clerk may dismiss a citation if a person goes to school or buys a wireless device,” he says.     

Last week, the Senate Rules Committee approved the bill. One mother spoke about passing the bill in remembrance of losing her 25-year-old son to someone who was texting and driving. Miami- Dade County resident, Debbie Wanninkhof, says the bill will help save lives.                                         

“On July 1, 2018 Governor Nathan Deal signed Georgia’s hands-free law. He broke down and took a moment to gather himself before saying this legislation is Georgia’s way of saying today is the day we say no more. Georgia saw a 22% decrease in collisions in the first month. This legislation is saving at least 20 lives each month in Georgia,” she says.                                                               

The House has a similar bill but it doesn’t impose a hands-free requirement. Both proposals aim to allow officers to cite a motorist without another reason and require an officer to record the race & ethnicity of a violator when issuing a citation.