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April marks “National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.” Because of this, we are excited to announce some good news in the world of safe driving. When it comes to driving laws across the United States, it always seemed like Florida has always been at the bottom of the list. When it comes to texting and driving and talking on handheld devices there has never really been set laws to prevent this direction behind the wheel. Pam Olsen is here to explain that 2019 may be the year that Florida finally passes tough distracted driving laws that are long overdue.

It’s Time For A Change

Since February of this year, Florida is one of only four states that does not allow officers to pull someone over who is looking at the phone instead of paying attention to the road. It is called secondary enforcement and it is a dangerous practice that does little to ensure safety and curtail distracted driving.

Luckily, this year there is a brand new set of leaders that have taken over the state capital that has plans to get stricter distracted driving laws for the state. In 2018, Toledo, along with state Rep. Emily Slosberg, sponsored HB 33, a bill that, if it had become law, would have moved texting and driving up to a primary offense. Unfortunately, the bill never passed. This year, however, the gloves are off!

Even though we passed it through the House with 112 votes to 3, we felt that this would be a much better bill,” Toledo said of her new proposal. “It would just provide more clarity: Don’t use your phone. It’s very distracting.”

The need for clarity has moved Toledo, Slosberg and state Sen. Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) to all file bills this session that could be considered a full court press. The focus has shifted from texting and driving to all distractions in the car. And to start it off: drivers won’t get to hold their phones at all.

The new bill will state that the measure states a driver won’t be able to hold a device in his or her hand. Calls have to be made through a built-in system in the car, a Bluetooth headset or on speakerphone.

Stay safe and off your phones during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month! Pamela Olsen, Attorney, and Counselor at Law, P.A., is an experienced attorney who strives to help clients with their legal issues. She has a winning history in a key accident and wrongful death cases in Ocala, Florida.

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