Of all the issues getting the most play that’s the least consequential coming out of the 2019 state session,it’s texting while driving as a primary offense. The state legislature is set to pass it through to governor Ron DeSantis’s desk but here’s the thing. It might “feel” good for those who want government to do something and by the way, I’m with you – texting while driving is extremely dangerous – but the fact is that feeling is all it is,along with a new law in Tallahassee. Doubt me? I’ll illustrate the point.
Drivers don’t speed because it’s against the law, right? People also use turn signals when changing lanes and turning too, correct? Tailgating isn’t an issue because that’s also a violation. You get the point? But here’s the thing. At least those examples are enforceable. Texting while driving isn’t. At least not specifically as the text communication on a mobile device. It requires a warrant to obtain any information on a mobile device. That’s simply not happening for a traffic citation. That takes us back to what it really is that you’d be cited for... reckless driving which is already a primary offense.
Here’s the legal definition in Florida, "wanton disregard for property and safety of other drivers or pedestrians." Texting while driving was already explicitly prohibited in Florida. Therefore, if you’re distracted while using a mobile device you are engaged in wanton behavior. More importantly, from a legal perspective, that’s what would have to be used to enforce the citation. But enough with facts. It feels good right? The far more interesting component to the law is the addition of Florida’s first law to prohibit holding a mobile device while driving in a school zone or active work zone. That is new policy.