New bill would target Florida teen drivers for texting while driving

Updated:

State lawmakers have introduced a new bill that would make texting and driving a primary offense.

State Rep. Emily Slosenber, of Boca Raton, and state Sen. Rene Garcia, of Miami, said the bill would only apply to drivers between the ages of 15 and 17.

Law enforcement said if the bill passes, it would help them to cite drivers for texting and driving, but there would be challenged trying to figure out the driver’s age before pulling them over.

“Obviously, if we were to stop somebody as a primary violation that was outside of that age range and is only there for a secondary violation, we just would not be able to issue that ticket,”  said Sgt. Kim Montes, of the Florida Highway Patrol.

State troopers question the proposed restriction, citing statistics that show the number of reported injuries from distracted driving crashed was close to 40,000 in 2015 for driver of all ages.

About 215 people were killed from texting and driving crashes in that same time period.

Troopers said the numbers are significantly lower than what they can report.

“We now that there are probably at least double the amount of crashes that occur by somebody being distracted,” Montes said.

As for drivers, they thought the youthful focus of the bill would be effective.

As for drivers, they thought the youthful focus of the bill would be effective.

“I think that catching it early on is a good way to send a message to young people, that, you know, you shouldn’t do this,” said driver Gracie Brown. 

Next Up: