Bills aim to ticket those texting, driving easier

Florida 1 of 9 states to get failing grade for its traffic safety laws


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida is one of nine states to get a failing grade for its traffic safety laws. One of the reasons SafeRoads.org faulted the state is for its weak texting while driving law, but at least two bills have already been filed to make ticketing those who text and drive easier.

One of the reasons Florida flunked is because drivers who text and drive can't be ticketed unless police stop them for something else.

Rep. Lori Berman is co-sponsoring a bill that will let police issue tickets when they spot someone texting and driving.

"We just don't make it a priority and we need to," said Berman.

At least a half-dozen drivers were spotted texting in a 30-minute drive on U.S. 90 near the Florida State University campus.

While one driver rocked out, he was looking down and his hands were not on the wheel. He was still looking down when the light turned green.

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Rep. Keith Perry, of Gainesville, sees it all the time as well.

"When you see them and they speed up and slow down, speed up and slow down, or they swerve a little bit, then you get next to them and see that they are texting," said Perry. "Hopefully its going to happen a lot less."

Some want to get even tougher than ticketing texters. One bill would prohibit anyone under 18 from using any wireless device behind the wheel.

Another reason for the state's low grade is that it only requires kids up to age 5 in a booster seat, while studies show 6- and 7-year-olds most at risk of being hurt if they are in a seat belt. The full report can be found here.