TAMPA - Compared to the harsh results of texting and driving, Florida's new law delivers a relatively mild punishment. If HB 13 becomes law, those caught in the act will pay a $30 dollar fine for the first offense. A second offense will draw a $60 dollar fine plus 3 points on their driving record.
"It's like an epidemic this texting and driving. This bill isn't everything we wanted it to be. However it's a little bite of the apple and we have to start somewhere" said Democratic State Representative Irving Slosberg.
Texting will still be allowed if you're stopped at a red light or in a traffic jam. A violation will be what's called a 'secondary offense'. An officer has to have another reason to pull you over before issuing you a ticket.
A recent poll shows that 98 percent of drivers know texting and driving is unsafe, yet 49 percent of adults and 43 percent of teens admit doing it.
Republican State Representative, Mike Fasano believes the law is long overdue.
"It's been five years since this legislation has been filed. It's time we get it passed get it into law and save some lives" said Fasano.
The Senate sponsor of the law agreed to one compromise demanded by the house. Police can only seize and examine your cell phone in case of an accident that causes death or serious damage.
It was reported that Governor Rick Scott's wife was recently in an accident caused by the other driver texting so the sponsors are hopeful he will sign this bill into law soon.