Right now, there are 43 states that currently treat texting while driving as a primary offense, but the state of Florida isn’t part of it right now. In order for you to get caught for texting, you have to break another law before texting comes in. That might not be the case much longer.
Florida legislature is about to consider a bill that would make texting a primary offense, meaning that police officers can pull drivers over without waiting until you speed or commit some other offense on the road.
While it’s good to see that Florida may be joining other states on this matter, the effectiveness of how well this law works is another story. The AP points out that there are conflicting studies on how effective these laws really are. Another interesting fact is that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said that those states without texting as a main offense had higher-than-average highway death rates, but also stated that existing laws and bans haven’t led to a decrease in accidents on the roads, despite people putting down their phones while driving.
While the effectiveness of such law is up for debate, there are also looming concerns that police may use texting as a way to racially profile. For example, a police office could theoretically issue a texting citation as a reason to stop a black person when they’re really just looking for an excuse to racially profile. While the bill could potentially prevent crashes and save many lives, there also needs to be another method of close oversight to make sure police aren’t abusing their power.