Florida lawmaker wants to make texting while driving a primary offense

ORLANDO, Fla. (WESH) —Every driver sees it — people texting while driving — and it scares them.

“Your mind could be somewhere else, while it should be straight forward, focused on what you’re doing,” Maricza Casilas said.

Right now, 46 states and Washington, D.C., prohibit texting and driving. And in most states, it’s enough to get you a ticket.

But in five states, there’s either no law — or it’s a secondary offense. Florida’s one of those. That means you have to be doing something else to get pulled over, such as speeding or weaving out of your lane. An incoming state representative is ready to make a change.

“It’s time that the laws in Florida catch up with modern reality,” Carlos Smith said.

Smith said he’s ready to fight to make texting-while-driving laws tougher because he believes the connection between danger on our roads and this practice is clear.

Smith is co-sponsoring two bills: one that will make texting while driving enough to get you pulled over, and a second, which targets only drivers under 18.

“There’s a direct correlation with smart phone usage while driving, and traffic fatalities and accidents and we have a duty to respond,” Smith said.

A south Florida senator is proposing a tougher law, but only for drivers 18 and younger.

“We still see the number of fatal accidents increasing due to texting and driving. So, I think now it is important to make it a primary enforcement,” State Sen. Rene Garcia said.

Bills to make the law tougher have been suggested before but are yet to pass.

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