New texting while driving law too lenient?
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
LEE COUNTY, Fla. - With the stroke of a pen, Governor Rick Scott signed a bill into law that makes texting and driving illegal in the state of Florida.
The new law makes texting and driving a secondary offense, that means police can't pull you over for it. You would first have to be cited for a primary offense like speeding, swerving, or having a busted tail light.
The reach of the ban has Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott wondering if the law is too lenient.
"As a law enforcement officer I can sit here in my patrol car, look to the person next to me, and see that they're texting - but I can't stop them for that."
Drivers we spoke with doubt that the new law will make a substantial difference.
"I think you should get pulled over if you're texting and driving," said Brittany Cross. "Just so you can be aware that they see you texting and STOP!"
But Mike Scott says an existing law on the books will help with enforcement.
"I always refer people back to a statute that's been on the books for years, and that's 'careless driving'. There are a lot of distractions and careless driving covers those." .
Sheriff Scott also warns of potential loop holes in the law, that allows drivers to use their phones as a GPS while behind the wheel.
"How do you make the distinction and make the case beyond a reasonable doubt that the person was texting instead of looking at the GPS or using it to look at the time," said Sheriff Scott.
Either way, the new law is exactly that - law and the Florida Highway Patrol says they're ready to tackle texting.
"We're gonna support whatever legislation is approved and we will go out there and do our job," said Lt. Greg Bueno, Florida Highway Patrol.