Reports out of Tallahassee today indicate that the Florida House of Representatives has decided that it will not bring a proposed ban on texting while driving up for a vote this year. The Florida Senate is poised to pass an identical measure that would punish drivers for texting behind the wheel, and Governor Crist has repeatedly expressed an interest in signing such a measure into law.
As many of you know, I believe that distracted driving, and particularly texting while driving, is a serious danger that only continues to get worse with technological advances. I have previously posted about distracted driving on several occasions.
Apparently, there is little sense of urgency about this problem in Tallahassee. Representative Ellyn Bogdanoff, of Fort Lauderdale, was the committee chair responsible for moving the ban on texting through the Florida House. She called the proposal “intellectually dishonest”, and seemed to feel that texting while driving is no worse or different than other distractions that drivers face in their cars. She suggested that the difficulty in enforcing a ban on texting while driving wouldn’t be worth the effort to pass such a law.
I disagree with Representative Bogdanoff on this one. Even if the ban on texting while driving would be difficult to enforce, if a new law made a driver think twice and put his phone down and not cause an accident, the “effort” to pass the law would be well worth it. I know the people that we have represented who have been injured by distracted drivers would have appreciated there being some reason for texting drivers to think twice before doing so.
On a side note, I think it would be interesting to see who is lobbying against the texting while driving ban, and similarly interesting to see which legislators mobile phone companies have been contributing to in legislation this session. Such information could provide a clue about why this measure is having trouble getting to the floor of the Florida House.