Scott signs bill making texting while driving illegal

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday signed a bill making it illegal to text and drive  on Florida roads.

The bill Scott signed during a ceremony at Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Senior High School in Miami makes texting while driving a secondary offense, meaning police officers can only cite drivers for doing so if they are already ticketing them for another moving violation.

“As a father and a grandfather, texting while driving is something that concerns me when my loved ones are on the road,” Scott said in a statement.

“We must do everything we can at the state level to keep our teenagers and everyone on our roads safe.”

State Sen. Nancy Detert, who sponsored the bill in the Senate, said she is “thrilled” to see it become law.

“Texting while driving is an issue we see on our roads every day, and the distractions it causes has negatively affected too many Floridians.”

State Rep. Doug Holder, who sponsored the bill in the House, said the law will encourage safe driving habits among teenagers.

“This will protect Florida families across the state, which is something we should all be thankful for,” he said.

Wireless companies also said they favored the law.

“We applaud Governor Rick Scott for signing this important legislation,” said Marshall Criser, president of AT&T Florida-State.

“It’s a simple message. No text is worth dying for. ‘It Can Wait.’”

Beth Bailey, director of government/education at Verizon Wireless said Verizon encourages all customers to think of safety first when they are on the road.

“Responsible driving should be everyone’s first priority,” she said.

Dr. Narendra Kini, president and CEO of Miami Children’s Hospital said hospitals that deal with the effects of car accidents support measures aimed at distracted driving.

“Making this activity illegal sends a clear message about the associated dangers and will reduce the number of vehicular traumas in our state, providing a safer environment for our children and for all,” he said.

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