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New bill would make it illegal to touch your phone while driving in Florida

A Florida lawmaker wants to make it illegal for you to touch your phone while driving.

Under current law, it is already illegal to talk on the phone or text when driving through a school or construction zone.

Last year Florida made it illegal to text while driving.

This new bill would make it illegal for anyone to hold a phone in their hand while behind the wheel. It was filed by State Rep. Emily Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, last week for the next legislative session which starts in January.

“Cell phones are now the number one cause of distraction for drivers,” said Slosberg, who has helped toughen Florida’s driving laws due to her sister’s death in a 1996 crash. “I think the most important thing we can do is focus on the road and not hold the phone in our hands.”

The Wireless Communications While Driving Law took effect in July of 2019. It was also sponsored by Slosberg. It allows law enforcement to stop and cite motorists who are texting and driving. It also makes it illegal for a person to use their phone in a handheld manner while in a school or work zone, according to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

The National Safety Council reports that driving while using a cellphone leads to about 1.6 million crashes each year. A University of Utah study found drivers who are on the phone are comparable to drunk drivers, calling them both dangerous to themselves, their passengers and everyone else on the road.

Some Florida residents say they would support a”hands-free” bill. Slosberg said the bill has bipartisan support.

“I think that’s great, having two girls myself, 22 and 16 years olds, we’re huge advocates of no no no texting,” said Rich Castiano, of Fort Myers.

 

Reporter:Rich Kolko
Writer:Melissa Montoya
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