driving

Florida's New Texting While Driving Ban Takes Effect Oct. 1

Sep 30, 2013
IntelFreePress/Flickr

It's official. No more texting and driving in the state of Florida.

Gov. Rick Scott was in South Florida on Tuesday to sign SB 52, legislation championed by Sen. Nancy Detert (R-Venice) for the last four years. 

Under the new law, Florida will join a large majority of states in prohibiting texting while driving. As a secondary offense, however, drivers must be stopped for a separate alleged traffic violation before being ticketed for texting while driving. 

C. DiMattei

Sixteen-year-old Webster Jean is driving around on city streets, left hand on the wheel, right hand holding a smartphone.  As he reads and responds to his text messages, he repeatedly veers across the double-yellow lines.

And then --  wham.

"I crashed,"  says Jean with a chuckle.

Jean tee-bones another car – but he’s fine.  The teenager is just taking a spin in a texting-while-driving simulator brought to Park Vista High School by wireless carrier AT&T. 

Christine DiMattei

It was a humdinger of a story.

A Miami police officer in a marked squad car is pursued, pulled over and handcuffed by a Florida state trooper after speeding down the turnpike like race car driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

A dash-cam video of that pre-dawn October chase in 2011 went viral and sparked a three-month investigation by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper into how local police officers routinely endangered the general public through reckless driving.

poka0059 / Flickr

After several failed bills and a decade’s worth of debate, texting and driving remains legal in Florida – and the most recently proposed bill wouldn’t change that. But drivers could be charged with vehicular homicide in the case of an accident.

According to the News Service of Florida,

This Bill Could Mean Tickets From School Buses

Feb 15, 2013
Arvind Balaraman / freedigitalphotos.net

A familiar yellow school bus slows to pick up a group of giddy children at the corner. Florida drivers, perhaps caught in the morning rush to work, know they’re supposed to stop. After all, the bus’s retractable red stop sign and flashing lights serve as glaring reminders. But are motorists actually following the law?

taestell

Florida is one of only 11 states that does not prohibit texting while driving.  Though state legislators have already introduced 3 texting ban bills for the upcoming session, similar bills have failed in the past several years. 

Is Florida Driving Us Crazy?

Jan 25, 2013
JASElabs

On the Florida Roundup: From immigration reform to gay rights, we’ll discuss how the president’s inauguration speech resonated here.  

The Dolphins win the first battle in their fight for public funding to renovate Sun Life Stadium, with the Miami-Dade County Commission agreeing to ask the state for an increase in the hotel tax.  But Florida state lawmakers might not be receptive.

J. Clark/Flickr

Safe driving is the focus of two proposed bills being filed in Tallahassee this session. One bill addresses texting while driving. The other bill deals with slow people in the fast lane.

According to the News Service of Florida, Senator Nancy Detert, a Venice Republican, believes this year will be the year her texting-while-driving ban passes.

This will be her fourth attempt.

Although the bill has passed the Senate twice before, Detert says it has never been heard in the House.

FLorida DMV

A South Florida lawmaker filed legislation Friday to repeal the law allowing the use of red light cameras, following a report earlier this week that says intersections where they're used have seen drops in crashes in most places.

Rep. Daphne Campbell, D-Miami, seeks to end the use of the cameras, saying they unfairly dole out tickets to people who can't defend themselves, noting that malfunctioning cameras can't be cross-examined.

Headlight Speed Trap Warnings Now Legal

Jan 2, 2013

Motorists who notice radar-equipped police cars hiding behind bushes and under overpasses, and then flash their high-beams to warn other drivers, haven’t always been rewarded for their concern.

On the contrary. A lot of them have gotten tickets for those little acts of kindness and roadway solidarity. But, just maybe, no more.

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