House Transpo. Cmte. OK’s texting ban

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A long road remains ahead in the Legislature, but what had seemed a fixed barricade to a ban on texting while driving – the House – was moved a short distance on Thursday, reports the News Service of Florida.

Members of the House Transportation and Highway Safety Subcommittee unanimously backed the texting while driving ban, joining the Senate Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee which unanimously backed the legislation on Wednesday.

“This is a no brainer type of bill, it’s legislation that should be enacted,” said Rep. Doug Holder the sponsor of the House legislation (HB 13). “We’re losing lives every day.” Holder called the vote the first action to advance the issue in the House, where concerns have held sway over imposing new rules to infringe on personal liberties, since 2008.

The bills would make texting while driving a secondary offense, meaning drivers would have to be pulled over for something else before they could get a secondary ticket for texting. The bill has exceptions, such as allowing the use of “talk-to-text” technology, and allowing texting while a vehicle is stopped, such as at a red light.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.