After several years of intent, the Florida Senate and House of Representatives in the final week of the 2019 session passed respective bills to make texting and driving a primary offense throughout the state, and hands-free at school and construction zones.
In the months leading up to this vote, Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez and the city council unanimously approved a resolution to strongly urge the Florida legislature for such a law.
Consequently, Doral Vice Mayor Claudia Mariaca has been actively advocating for the law and visited Tallahassee and met with senators and legislators, including the bill sponsors Representative Emily Slosberg (D-Boca Raton) and Representative Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa), to express support.
“Seeing how distracted driving has become a deadly epidemic, I am very pleased to see this important law finally get approved, that will help us make our roadways safer for our families and community,” said Vice Mayor Mariaca. “Studies have found that primary bans reduced crash-related emergency room visits in all age groups.”
Doral resident Carolina Angel expressed, “I am so happy to finally see this law passed… I encourage drivers to take this law seriously and ask enforcement officers to start ticketing as soon as possible, to help us prevent accidents. I feel that school zones will also be much safer.”
In the Florida Senate CS/CS/CS/CS/SB 76 “Driving While Using a Wireless Communications Device” was supported by Senator Manny Diaz, Jr., while in the Florida House CS/HB 107 “Wireless Communications While Driving” was co-sponsored by 58 Representatives including Doral Representatives Ana Maria Rodriguez, Daniel Perez, Vance Aloupis, Jr., and Cindy Polo.
The bill now goes to the desk of Governor Ron DeSantis for review, and upon his signing Florida will become the 48th state to ban texting and driving, 16 states have a hand-held cell phone ban, 38 states ban all cell phone use by novice or teen drivers, and 21 states and D.C. prohibit any cell phone use for school bus drivers.
The National Highway Safety Administration reported that last year an estimated 391,000 people were injured and 3,450 people were killed in crashes in the United States involving distracted drivers.