Texting while driving could become primary offense

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Texting while driving could become primary offense. (MGN)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (WPEC) - Texting while driving could soon become a primary traffic offense in Florida.

That means law enforcement officers would no longer need a second reason, like speeding, to pull someone over.

The newly unveiled legislation, backed by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, would also bring harsher penalties for people caught texting or emailing behind the wheel, including increased fines and the possibility of racking up points on a driver’s license.

First-time offenders would now face a $30 fine plus court costs for a non-moving violation.

Second-time violators would face a $60 fine plus court costs with a moving violation.

The bill would also include additional penalties for texting violations that result in car crashes or happen while driving through school zones.

Under the proposed bill, drivers who are caught would not have to turn over their phones until warrants are issued and motorists could not be detained while authorities seek warrants.

Corcoran said one of the co-sponsors of the bill will be Rep. Emily Slosberg of Boca Raton.

Slosberg was injured in a 1996 crash that killed her twin sister along with four other teenagers.

Right now, Florida is one of only a few states where texting is not a primary offense.

This bill will be on the table when the 2018 Legislative Session gets underway next month.