Florida Finally Bans Texting and Driving, Sort of

No one’s going to accuse Florida of being a safe streets pioneer. But yesterday, the Sunshine State took a “baby step” forward, as one advocate put it, becoming 42nd state to pass a law making texting and driving illegal.

Florida is the 42nd state to ban texting and driving. Image via ##http://www.transitmiami.com/accident/texting-while-driving-finally-against-the-law-in-florida## Transit Miami##

Kathryn Moore at Transit Miami says the law still leaves a lot to be desired, but it’s better than nothing:

In Florida, texting while driving is only a secondary offense, meaning law enforcement can’t pull you over solely for the action. The ticket itself is only $30, but multiple offenses become moving violations and add points to your license/ raise your insurance premiums.

In Florida, it remains just fine to text or drop an email when you’re at a red light – which sounds okay until you realize that motorists are obliged to check for people still in crosswalks as well as green lights. It’s also fine to take calls, change your Pandora station or use Google Maps.

U.S. DOT says in 2011, 3331 people were killed in collisions involving a distracted driver.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Dallas Morning News Transportation Blog carries the results of a poll finding that Texans are willing to pay more for better road maintenance. The Bike League reports that the roughly 35,000 cyclists participating in this year’s National Bike Challenge logged a combined total of about 18 million miles. And Global Site Plans explains how Bogota, Colombia, established itself as a global leader on sustainable and equitable transportation.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

LaHood to Convene Texting-While-Driving Summit

|
Ray LaHood will announce today that his Department of Transportation plans to convene a summit next month for safety officials, lawmakers, academics, and law enforcement representatives to examine the risks of texting while driving. (Photo: GT Channel) The summit comes on the heels of a new congressional proposal to prod states into bans on texting […]

Flawed Handheld Phone Bans Don’t Stop Distracted Driving

|
University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan, over at the New York Times’ Economix blog, dug up a 2012 study by Cheng Cheng of Texas A&M University that tells the world nothing new about the currently confused state of laws against distracted driving, and in particular bans on handheld phone use. “Perhaps lawmakers overestimated the benefits […]

Today’s Headlines

|
Boehner Warns House GOP: Don’t Make Me Take Up the Senate Transpo Bill (Hill) LaHood: Time Has Run Out to Pass a Long-term Transportation Bill (Governing) Do Real-Time Updates Boost Transit Use? (AtlanticCities) What Do Millennials Feel About Cars, Public Transit and Electric Vehicles? (Treehugger) Florida Considers Advertising on School Buses, Like 9 Other States […]

NTSB: States Should Ban Hands-Free Calls While Driving

|
In Missouri last year, a 19-year-old driving a pickup at 55 mph sent or received 11 texts in the 11 minutes immediately before he caused a deadly crash. The ensuing collision killed the texting driver as well as a 15-year-old student who was on a high-school band trip to the Six Flags amusement park in […]