TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Senate is currently working on a bill that may help alleviate accidents that occur because of texting and driving.
The bill, known as Senate Bill 144, seeks to reclassify texting and driving as a primary offense for drivers who are not at least 18 years old, according to a news release the law firm Hochman and Goldin, which sponsored the bill.
Currently, law enforcement cannot issue citations for texting while driving unless the offender was pulled over for another violation. If SB144 passes, police would have the authority to stop persons aged 18 and younger simply for using a wireless device while operating a motor vehicle. However, the bill would not have an effect on drivers of legal age as law enforcement would still need a primary reason for the traffic stop.
On March 7, according to flsenate.gov, SB144 had passed through the senate's Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee in a 6-1 vote. The bill then passed by the chamber's Transportation Committee by a 5-0 vote on March 22.
As of March 23, the bill was in the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development.
The bill aims to address the statistics associated with texting and driving. According to the news release, in 2015 there were 4,300 crashes were because of distracted driving in Miami-Dade County alone. Broward County experienced more than 3,500 such accidents.
Florida is among the handful of states that currently list distracted driving as a secondary offense, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported on its website.
Hochman and Goldin is operated by two University of Miami School of Law alumni, Scott Hochman and Sunny Goldin, the firm specializes in traffic tickets and has worked on more than 180,000 traffic citations in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. The two attorneys have been in practice for more than 20 years.