DATE: April 17, 2013
MEDIA CONTACT: Kimberly Maroe
Public Information Officer
Broward County Commission
Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca is applauding the passage of a Senate Bill that makes texting and driving illegal in Florida. The bill (SB 13) makes texting and driving a secondary offense, meaning that law enforcement officers would stop drivers for a primary violation, such as speeding, before writing a ticket for sending or reading texts or emails while operating a car.
“This bill will save lives and hopefully further enforce the notion that texting and sending e-mails while behind the wheel is a deadly practice that is responsible for numerous deaths everyday nationwide. Passage of this bill reinforces Broward County’s public education campaign ‘Take 5 to Stay Alive. Don't Text & Drive’. I encourage the passage of a companion Bill HB 13 by the Florida House of Representatives,” said Commissioner LaMarca.
The Senate bill calls for a $30 fine, plus court costs for a first time violation. A second violation would result in three points on the driver’s record plus a $60 fine and court costs if the driver is ticketed within five years of the first violation. The bill does allow drivers to text or e-mail when stopped, such as at a red light.
Commissioner LaMarca has been an outspoken advocate for legislation that prevents people from texting or e-mailing while driving. He is a firm supporter of the “Take 5 to Stay Alive” campaign that was sponsored by the Board of County Commissioners and the Broward Regional EMS Council. The public awareness program encourages people to take a break from driving and pull off the road when using a cell phone. On May 14, the Commissioner will present a proclamation that designates the month of May as “Take 5 to Stay Alive. Don’t Text & Drive." month in Broward County. In January, Broward Commissioners adopted a resolution regarding the dangers of texting and driving.
The ban isn’t a done deal yet. It still needs to go through the Florida House of Representatives for discussion and a vote.
For more information on the “Take 5 to Stay Alive. Don't Text & Drive.” public service campaign please visit broward.org/Take5.