As Florida's texting while driving ban goes into effect, local police officers are still figuring out the best way to enforce the new law.
"This is something new to all of us," said Freddy Cruz, a sergeant with the City of Miami Police Department. "This is going to be quite a challenge, but from an educational standpoint, we have to educate the public on the dangers [of texting while driving].
Florida's new law banning texting while driving went into effect on October 1.
Governor Rick Scott signed SB 52 into law back in May, making Florida the 41st state to ban texting while driving. To some, though, the law does not go far enough.
The brunt of the new law is meant to deter drivers from sending or reading text messages. But it bans pretty much anything that requires "manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters." So no emailing, searching the Internet, or dialing a phone number.
It's official. No more texting and driving in the state of Florida.
Gov. Rick Scott was in South Florida on Tuesday to sign SB 52, legislation championed by Sen. Nancy Detert (R-Venice) for the last four years.
Under the new law, Florida will join a large majority of states in prohibiting texting while driving. As a secondary offense, however, drivers must be stopped for a separate alleged traffic violation before being ticketed for texting while driving.
Sixteen-year-old Webster Jean is driving around on city streets, left hand on the wheel, right hand holding a smartphone. As he reads and responds to his text messages, he repeatedly veers across the double-yellow lines.
And then -- wham.
"I crashed," says Jean with a chuckle.
Jean tee-bones another car – but he’s fine. The teenager is just taking a spin in a texting-while-driving simulator brought to Park Vista High School by wireless carrier AT&T.
A Miami police officer in a marked squad car is pursued, pulled over and handcuffed by a Florida state trooper after speeding down the turnpike like race car driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
A dash-cam video of that pre-dawn October chase in 2011 went viral and sparked a three-month investigation by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper into how local police officers routinely endangered the general public through reckless driving.
Florida is one of only 11 states that doesn't prohibit texting and driving. But drivers whose texting leads to an accident and death would be guilty of homicide under a bill filed this week in the Senate and expected to soon show up in the House.
After several failed bills and a decade’s worth of debate, texting and driving remains legal in Florida – and the most recently proposed bill wouldn’t change that. But drivers could be charged with vehicular homicide in the case of an accident.
Rep. Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater filed a bill in the House on Tuesday that would allow school districts to install cameras on school buses. This is an attempt to identify drivers who illegally pass buses when children are boarding.
A familiar yellow school bus slows to pick up a group of giddy children at the corner. Florida drivers, perhaps caught in the morning rush to work, know they’re supposed to stop. After all, the bus’s retractable red stop sign and flashing lights serve as glaring reminders. But are motorists actually following the law?
On the Florida Roundup: From immigration reform to gay rights, we’ll discuss how the president’s inauguration speech resonated here.
The Dolphins win the first battle in their fight for public funding to renovate Sun Life Stadium, with the Miami-Dade County Commission agreeing to ask the state for an increase in the hotel tax. But Florida state lawmakers might not be receptive.
A South Florida lawmaker filed legislation Friday to repeal the law allowing the use of red light cameras, following a report earlier this week that says intersections where they're used have seen drops in crashes in most places.
Rep. Daphne Campbell, D-Miami, seeks to end the use of the cameras, saying they unfairly dole out tickets to people who can't defend themselves, noting that malfunctioning cameras can't be cross-examined.