Bill making texting when driving main offense heads to DeSantis' desk

Governor is expected to sign measure

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Texting while driving in Florida would become a primary traffic offense punishable by fines under legislation given final passage by the Florida House.

The vote was 108-7 Monday for the bill, which now goes to Gov. Ron DeSantis for his signature. He is expected to sign the bill.

Under current law, officers can only cite drivers for texting if they are pulled over for some other violation. The House-passed bill would allow officers to stop motorists simply for texting alone.

The mother and sisters of a South Florida boy who was killed by a driver who was texting said they have been fighting for legislation ever since his death.

Earron James Haley, 12, was killed in 2008 near CB Smith Park. 

"I hope that it helps other families to avoid what we have to go through for the rest of our lives," Earron's mother,  Delpha Stephenson, said. 

While his family has been fighting for a change in the law, they said they thought this day might never come.

"It's a bitter sweet victory because he's not here and we can't get him back, but because we did this in his honor and all the other people who lost their families, it's a great day in Florida," Earron's sister and Mrs. Florida International, Delpha Samuels, said.   

A first offense is punishable by a $30 fine, with a second offense costing $60. Court costs and fees also would apply. Only warnings will be given until January, when officers can write citations.

The texting ban does not apply to a driver using a navigation device or system or to a driver whose vehicle is stationary.

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