Florida Distracted Driving Bill Advances

The Florida Senate bill that would allow law enforcement to pull over drivers for texting and driving passed its final Senate committee last week. This is the farthest a distracted driving bill has gone in the Florida Legislature.

Senate Bill 76 passed the Rules Committee last Wednesday afternoon and is headed to the Florida Senate floor for debate. The accompanying legislation, HB 107, could very likely get a vote in the Florida House this week.

Last month, the Senate’s Judiciary Committee amended SB 76 to remove the requirement of hands-free enforcement and instead make distracted driving a primary offense.

The final committee vote last week means Florida is very close — once again — to passing a stricter texting and driving bill. Florida is among the only remaining states where law enforcement cannot pull drivers over for distracted driving as a primary offense.

“The Florida Police Chiefs Association stands in strong support of SB 76 as amended and passed (Wednesday) in the Senate Rules Committee. We applaud Sen. Simpson for restoring the bill’s original intent and allowing only the hands-free use of a handheld communications device while driving. By encouraging drivers to keep both hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road, SB 76 will help law enforcement better protect the public we serve,” said Amy Mercer, president of the Florida Police Chiefs Association.

If SB 76 makes it through the Senate floor, leaders from the Senate and the House will have to construct a final bill before Gov. Ron DeSantis signs it into law.