TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A proposed ban on texting while driving in Florida won't get a floor vote in the House this year, a key committee leader said Monday.
Finance and Tax Council Chairwoman Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, never scheduled the bill (HB 41) for a hearing. She said there are better ways to deal with driving distractions than to ban a particular activity.
"It's intellectually dishonest," Bogdanoff said. "There are a lot of things that people do in their cars that are very distracting and all of them need to be addressed. And it needs to be addressed from a different perspective."
She said it's difficult to enforce a ban and predicted in a couple years texting while driving will no longer be an issue due to advances in technology.
"You'll probably have voice-activated," Bogdanoff said. "People used to read maps in their car and now you have a GPS system." Asked if the bill was dead, Bogdanoff said that term was "a little harsh."
She said she'd prefer to say lawmakers ran out of time although the bill's been in her council for nearly six weeks since March 16. That was six days after another House panel had unanimously approved it.
The Senate is scheduled to vote Tuesday on an identical bill (SB 448), and Gov. Charlie Crist has said he favors passage. The federal government has been encouraging states to pass such bans, and 19 of them have done so as well as the District of Columbia. Supporters have acknowledged the difficulty of detecting texting in a moving vehicle.
They also agreed to let police cite a driver only if stopped for another violation because they were afraid a tougher bill wouldn't pass.