Florida is poised to join the majority of other states in cracking down on texting while driving by making it a primary offense, according to the Sun Sentinal.
The Florida House voted 104-9 on Tuesday in favor of toughening state law to allow police to pull over drivers who are texting but not committing any other driving offense.
The Senate will take up a similar measure Wednesday. Right now, drivers can be cited for texting only if they are speeding or committing another violation.
But the measure has drawn concerns from African American lawmakers who fear it will lead to more racial profiling.
“As a black man, there is no way I can support this bill,” said Rep. Al Jacquet, D-Lantana. “In application, we are going to look back and wish we never did it.”
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The proposal (HB 107) requires that police compile statistics on the race of people cited for texting while driving.
A first violation carries a $30 fine plus court costs, which could result in a total fine up to $108. A subsequent violation committed within five years carries a $60 fine.
Forty-three other states make texting while driving a primary offense, according to a House analysis of the bill.
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