New texting ban is another farce

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A South Marion Citizen editorial

Years ago, when the Florida Legislature, under pressure from the Feds, adopted a mandatory seat belt use law, they made it a secondary offense. In other words, police couldn’t stop you for not using a seat belt.
They had to stop you for something else before you could receive a seat belt citation.
Eventually, someone realized how silly this was, so they made it a primary violation. Now if you drive down the road without your seat belt hooked up, you can be pulled over.
We’ve always been against the seat belt law. What a person does in their own car, if it affects no one else, shouldn’t be law enforcement’s business. It should be personal preference.
Now along comes the Legislature again, this time passing a bill banning texting while driving.
This one we’re in favor of, because it does affect other drivers. If someone is going down the road concentrating on texting and not on the road, it could cause accidents and result in injuries to others.
But, in its wisdom, the Legislature has, once again, passed a toothless law, making it a secondary offense. That means that if you’re driving down the road texting, and not violating any other laws, the police can’t stop you (although cynics say that they’ll find something else wrong to stop you, anyway).
Eventually, someone will realize that this, too, is silly, and the legislators will have to go through the process of passing the law all over again, something that should have been done in the first place.
Texting while driving is distracted driving … there is no doubt about that. It should be banned. As the public service announcement on TV says, your thumbs have other things to do while you’re driving.
But passing a law that “sort of” makes it illegal is not the answer.
So legislators should start planning now to pass an additional law in the next session. Common sense didn’t prevail this time around, but maybe in 2014 it will surface in Tallahassee.