Broward News

After One Year, Only 168 Citations Issued in Broward for Texting While Driving

Intel Free Press via Wikimedia Commons
As of last October 1, texting while driving in Florida is illegal. But almost one year after the ban went into effect, it seems the law has had little effect.

Only 168 texting while driving citations have been issued in the county in 2013, a spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) tells New Times.

See also: Florida's Texting-While-Driving Ban Starts Today, Will Probably Stop No One From Texting While Driving

Because texting while driving is a secondary offense in Florida, a citation can be issued only when the driver is already seen committing another offense, like running a red light or driving with expired tags.

Last year, as the law was about to come into effect, Boca Raton state representative Irving Slosberg told WLRN that the texting ban bill had been significantly weakened as it was passing through the legislative process, from a primary to secondary offense, because of politics.

"You can text in traffic jams, you can text at red lights, it's only $30 (for a ticket) and the police can't even confiscate (cell phone) records unless you kill or seriously injure someone," the legislator said. "So it's politics and unfortunately there's no lobbyist for public safety."

In 2012, the most recent year for which statistics are available, more than 3,000 people died in the U.S. in distraction-affected crashes, according to the U.S. government's distracted driving website.

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Trevor Bach
Contact: Trevor Bach