An anti-texting bill meant to cut down on distracted driving was added to the Florida Senate calendar today for its second reading. Look for action on SB52 next Tuesday, April 16, with a floor vote on third reading sometime later. Amended versions have won unanimous approval in three Senate committees: Transportation, Communications, and Judiciary. The bill would make texting a secondary offense, meaning police could add a texting charge if a driver was stopped for a greater offense. The initial penalty would be small, but it could be stronger for repeat offenders. The similar HB13 is awaiting second reading in the House, where the only vote against it so far was cast by Rep. Jimmy Patronis of Panama City.
Cellphone use by drivers, especially for texting, is increasingly cited as a cause of crashes on America’s streets and highways. The Florida Bicycle Association and other bike advocates have made such legislation a priority for several years now.