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texting and driving

State Rep. Jackie Toledo was joined by Sheriff Chad Chronister, Superintendent Jeff Eakins and School Board member Stacy Hahn.
Wayne Garcia/WUSF Public Media

Florida drivers now must put down their cell phones anytime they are in a school or work zone or they could eventually get a $60 ticket.

State Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, helped champion the bill that went into effect Tuesday and was at Dale Mabry Elementary School in Tampa on its first day. Toledo stood alongside Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, school Superintendent Jeff Eakins and School Board Member Stacy Hahn to say education -- not enforcement -- is the key.

An author of a new law that toughened the state’s texting-while-driving ban wants to require motorists to go fully “hands-free” if they are using wireless phones.

Measures to protect police dogs and horses and crack down on hazing and child-like sex dolls are among new laws ready to take effect next week.

Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at podium on high school lawn
Kerry Sheridan/WUSF

Beginning in July, Florida police can pull over drivers they suspect of texting while driving. That’s according to a bill signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis Friday.

Proposal Takes Aim At Cell Phone Use By Drivers

Nov 26, 2018

A proposal that would allow law-enforcement officers to pull over motorists for using cell phones while driving will be back before lawmakers in 2019. 

Today, driving is arguably safer than ever been before.

Modern vehicles now boast a number of safety features, including blind spot monitoring, driver alertness detection systems and emergency braking. Additionally, highway engineering has improved over the last several decades. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called motor vehicle safety one of the top 10 U.S. public health achievements of the 20th century.

Oregon Department of Transportation

Will Florida join most of the rest of the country and place an outright ban on texting and driving? Probably not anytime soon.

A South Florida lawmaker is on a personal crusade to reduce distracted driving.

State Rep. Emily Slosberg is pushing cities and all 67 counties in Florida to pass a resolution urging lawmakers to make texting while driving a primary offense.

According to state data, there were almost 50,000 crashes involving distracted driving in Florida last year. That’s more than five crashes every hour.

At a recent Boca Raton City Council meeting, Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, said she tried to get a similar law passed during the last legislative session but was unsuccessful.

Slosberg Seeks Tougher Law On Texting While Driving

Jul 27, 2017

State Rep. Emily Slosberg appeared Tuesday night at a Boca Raton City Council meeting as she tries to build local-government support for the Legislature to make texting while driving a primary offense.

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.

Teen Safe Driving Leadership Program

Jun 4, 2014

The No. 1 killer of teens in Florida - and the country - is car crashes.

The irony -  fatal crashes are the most preventable.

That's the goal of a Leadership Training Academy Thursday at  All Children's Hospital Education and Conference Center in St. Petersburg.

Florida Teen Safe Driving Coalition is conducting  this Leadership Academy -- not just to teach teens how to drive safely -- but to create teen safe driving campaigns for their communities.

Danielle Branciforte is the leader of the Coalition.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

Five years ago, her mother was killed in a car crash caused by a driver who was distracted by a cell phone.

After Jennifer Smith laid her mother to rest, she embarked on a new cause - making sure this doesn't happen to someone else.

Smith, who lives in suburban Chicago, is in Tampa today to help kick off the state's first Distracted Driving Summit.

She's starting the Distraction Advocate Network, a nationwide group committed to raising awareness of the impact of distracted driving.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

The need to be in constant communication can have tragic consequences if you're driving. An epidemic of crashes caused by distracted drivers is behind a new campaign to change people's behavior behind the wheel.