Commissioner Rebeca Sosa files legislation to curb texting while driving
(MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FL) – The adoption of stricter regulations by the State of Florida on texting while driving and while operating other vehicles (such as bicycles, skateboards, hoverboards, segways, and mopeds) are being called for by Miami-Dade County upon unanimously passing three resolutions sponsored by Commissioner Rebeca Sosa that address texting while operating a vehicle.
“Texting while operating vehicles has become an epidemic causing not only traffic backups and frustration, but can also pose a grave risk for drivers and pedestrians,” said Commissioner Sosa. “Our state is one of the worst in the country for distracted driving. As we promote alternative modes of transportation, my hope is to curb this alarming trend through enhanced enforcement along with better education. I urge everyone to put their phones down while operating any form of vehicle and teach children and young adults about the importance of focusing on the road.”
Enforce texting while driving as a primary offense
In 2015, Commissioner Sosa filed legislation urging the Florida Legislature to change texting while driving from a secondary offense to a primary offense. Currently, of the 47 states that have banned texting while driving, Florida is one of four that has not made it a primary offense. Doing so would allow Florida law enforcement officials to stop motorists suspected of texting while driving, just as they would for a broken tail light, speeding or other traffic infraction.
This latest resolution from Commissioner Sosa calls for the passage of SB 72, SB 90 or similar legislation that would make texting while driving a primary offense and preliminarily identifies the issue as a critical County priority for 2018. Additionally, the legislation expresses Miami-Dade County’s intent to become a member of the Fl Dnt Txt N Drv Coalition, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of the dangers of distracted driving.
Extend ban on texting while driving to cover other transportation modes
The State of Florida currently prohibits texting while driving motor vehicles; however, the definition of motor vehicles does not include bicycles, skateboards, mopeds and other commonly used means of transportation. Commissioner Sosa’s resolution urges the Florida Legislature to extend the ban to a greater variety of vehicles used to traverse our roadways. This initiative is similar to the State’s current ban on the use of headsets and other devices by operators of such vehicles.
Educational campaigns against texting while driving
In an effort to continue raising awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, Commissioner Sosa filed legislation urging cell phone carriers to engage in an educational campaign to periodically send subscribers “Don’t Text and Drive” messages. According to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), Florida ranks as the second-worst state in the nation for distracted driving with over 49,000 accidents by distracted drivers in 2016 of which 235 produced fatalities and another 3,563 resulted in incapacitating injuries.
Link to Dnt Txt N Drv Coalition (mentioned above): http://www.dnttxtndrvfoundation.org/