Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Contact: Karen Aldana, 202-366-9550
WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today praised Florida Governor Rick Scott for enacting the new "Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law," which makes texting, emailing or instant messaging while driving a secondary offense. The new Florida law enables police officers to ticket the driver of any passenger car that they have pulled over for another violation.
"I commend Governor Scott and the Florida legislature for their decision to enact a ban on texting while driving," said Secretary LaHood. "With Florida's new anti-texting law, we are one step closer toward our goal of encouraging all 50 states to pass distracted driving legislation."
The law establishes a first violation as a non-moving violation and a subsequent offense within a five-year period as a moving violation with fines and points assessed.
The law becomes effective October 1, 2013.
"Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous and irresponsible decisions a driver can make," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "Florida is sending a strong message that it wants all drivers to be distraction free."
In 2009, Secretary LaHood launched a national anti-distracted driving campaign to combat the growing trend of dangerous distracted driving behavior in America. To help further raise awareness, the U.S. DOT also launched www.distraction.gov, a dedicated website that provides the public with a comprehensive source of information on distracted driving.
With the addition of Florida, 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and Guam have banned text messaging for all drivers. Ten states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving.