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Texting and driving may soon be illegal in Florida

Take 5 to stay alive

Take 5 to stay alive

Texting and driving may soon be illegal in Florida

By Kimberly Maroe

      Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca is applauding the passage of a Senate Bill that makes texting and driving illegal in Florida. The bill (SB 13) makes texting and driving a secondary offense, meaning that law enforcement officers would stop drivers for a primary violation, such as speeding, before writing a ticket for sending or reading texts or emails while operating a car.

     “This bill will save lives and hopefully further enforce the notion that texting and sending emails while behind the wheel is a deadly practice that is responsible for numerous deaths everyday nationwide. Passage of this bill reinforces Broward County’s public education campaign ‘Take 5 to Stay Alive. Don’t Text & Drive’.

     I encourage the passage of a companion Bill HB 13 by the Florida House of Representatives,” said Commissioner LaMarca. The Senate bill calls for a $30 fine, plus court costs for a first time violation. A second violation would result in three points on the driver’s record plus a $60 fine and court costs if the driver is ticketed within five years of the first violation.

     The bill does allow drivers to text or e-mail when stopped, such as at a red light. Commissioner LaMarca has been an outspoken advocate for legislation that prevents people from texting or e-mailing while driving. He is a firm supporter of the “Take 5 to Stay Alive” campaign that was sponsored by the Board of County Commissioners and the Broward Regional EMS Council. The public awareness program encourages people to take a break from driving and pull off the road when using a cell phone.

     On May 14, the Commissioner will present a proclamation that designates the month of May as “Take 5 to Stay Alive. Don’t Text & Drive.” month in Broward County. In January, Broward Commissioners adopted a resolution regarding the dangers of texting and driving.

     The ban isn’t a done deal yet. It still needs to go through the Florida House of Representatives for discussion and a vote. For more information on the “Take 5 to Stay Alive. Don’t Text & Drive.” public service campaign please visit


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