Driving Change: Lawmakers could make Florida ‘hands-free’ statewide

Proposal would expand ‘hands-free’ law for school, work zones to all areas

Could Florida soon be completely “hands-free” when it comes to drivers and their cellphones?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Could Florida soon be completely “hands-free” when it comes to drivers and their cellphones?

Florida Rep. Emily Slosberg is sponsoring a bill that would make it illegal for drivers to operate a motor vehicle while “holding or touching a wireless communications device,” reports News 6 sister station WJXT.

House Bill 91, also called the Dori Slosberg Hands-free Driving Law, is named after Slosberg’s sister, who was killed in a car crash in 1996. The state representative survived that crash and since then, has worked to tighten Florida’s driving laws.

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Slosberg sponsored previous legislation that allows law enforcement officers to pull over and cite drivers who are texting while driving, which took effect in July 2019.

Another Florida law prohibits drivers from even handling a wireless device when they’re in a “designated school crossing, school zone or active work zone area.” Slosberg’s new bill would expand that to include driving at any time.

In a statement, Slosberg said, “Cellphones are the No. 1 source of distraction for drivers … we must do more to limit distracted driving and keep our roadways safe.”

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, since July 2019, troopers have issued 136 citations to drivers for being on their phones in parts of Northeast Florida, which makes up about 10% of citations like that statewide.

Currently, there are 25 states that prohibit drivers from using phones while driving. The 2021 legislative session begins in March.

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