New law curbs Miami communication options

October 8, 2013 by  

Miami residents feeling neglected because they are not receiving the same volume of texts and cell phone calls may be relieved to know that their friends and family are just being law abiding citizens. A new Florida law went into effect on October 1 making texting while driving a secondary moving offense.

Although primarily aimed at sending or reading text messages, the new law is more far reaching than many realize. According to the SB 52, signed by Governor Rick Scott, the ban covers “manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters”. Exceptions to the banned use of cell phones are made for reporting crimes, listening to radio broadcasts, receiving weather alerts, and navigational help.

As a secondary violation, motorists must be pulled over for another offense before being issued a citation for texting. This is similar to the way in which seatbelt laws were originally implemented. Today, 16 states still only have secondary seatbelt laws but a primary seatbelt law is in place in 33 states. New Hampshire is alone in having no seatbelt laws.

The difficulty with enforcing secondary violations concerns State Senator Maria Sachs (D-Boca Raton) with regard to SB 52. She is filing a bill that will amend SB 52 to make it a primary offense.

Since the law will apply not only to residents but to Miami tourists as well, the local chamber of commerce might do well to consult with members of the hospitality industry. Postcard printing or other printing services could be called upon to warn visitors about the new law.