Florida is the latest state to implement a ban on texting while operating a motor vehicle. They are the 41st state in the union to outlaw handheld devices behind the wheel, but the new legislation enforces penalties that are much less strict than elsewhere in the nation. Still, the threat of a fine should be enough to dissuade most drivers from using their mobile devices while driving.
The regulations will be officially set in place on October 1st. Texting while driving will be considered a secondary infraction from that date forward. This means the appearance of text messaging is not enough to warrant a cop pulling someone over, but it can be added as an additional offense for individuals that have already broken another traffic law. First time violators will be levied a $30 fine, but repeat offenders will incur a $60 charge.
Additionally, there are exceptions to the new rule. Texting while stopped at a red light will still be permitted. Reporting crimes via text message is also going to be permitted. Ultimately, the ban is relatively weak in comparison to the rigid consequences other states have enforced on the activity. The diluted nature of Florida’s bill is the result of an especially contentious legislature.
The new law fails to comprehensively tackle the issue of texting while driving, but it institutionalizes a somewhat hefty fee that can be challenging to contest in court. It would be wise for any drivers accused of violating the ban to seek legal counsel, especially in the first days of its implementation. The charges can be countered with claims of ignorance, and the government would be remiss to rebuff the testimony. This is because Governor Rick Scott vetoed $1 million in funding for an awareness campaign regarding the ban.
Because the peoples’ representatives failed to educate them about new penalties, individuals have a strong chance to overcome these fines. The assistance of a crafty lawyer can expedite the process of exoneration. As it stands, this law is being stealthily introduced to the public. Many drivers will not be aware of the rule until it is tacked on as an extra offense after they have been pulled over by a police officer.
This incognito behavioral prohibition grants the government a lot of authority over the basic functions of citizens’ lives. As a result, these invasive laws should be constitutionally challenged at every given chance.