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Texting While Driving Bill Passes First Hurdle

A new bill would make a fatal crash due to texting while driving a felony.
Jason Weaver via Flickr
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A new bill would make a fatal crash due to texting while driving a felony.
A new bill would make a fatal crash due to texting while driving a felony.
Credit Jason Weaver via Flickr
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A new bill would make a fatal crash due to texting while driving a felony.

Under a new proposal, texting drivers could be hit with a felony if they’re involved in a fatal crash.  But the newest texting while driving bill is meeting some resistance in the statehouse.

It’s already illegal to text while driving in Florida, but Rep. Irv Slosberg (D-Delray Beach) thinks ratcheting up penalties will be a more effective deterrent.  But Matt Willard from the Florida association of criminal defense attorneys says current law is broad enough to cover texting.

“We certainly don’t disagree that texting and driving or using a personal device is a bad idea,” Willard says.  “However the law already covers this, there’s no need to add anything else.  It’s part of what’s already out there as far as recklessly operating a motor vehicle, or you’re distracted, or not paying attention.”

Slosberg’s bill adds language about texting to the definition of vehicular homicide, making it a felony to cause a death while texting and driving. 

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Nick Evans came to Tallahassee to pursue a masters in communications at Florida State University. He graduated in 2014, but not before picking up an internship at WFSU. While he worked on his degree Nick moved from intern, to part-timer, to full-time reporter. Before moving to Tallahassee, Nick lived in and around the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years. He listens to far too many podcasts and is a die-hard 49ers football fan. When Nick’s not at work he likes to cook, play music and read.
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