mulberry purse john lewis Black lawmakers oppose bill to toughen texting while driving ban
Sen. Perry Thurston, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat who proposed the reporting requirement, said the data collection would help determine if minorities are disproportionately ticketed for texting while driving.
is just an effort to say, well, just monitor it, see how it being handled, Thurston said. don know if it goes far enough, but certainly it will give us the information. Texting while driving is a offense, meaning motorists can only be cited if they are pulled over for other reasons. But if it is made a primary offense, police would be able to stop motorists for texting behind the wheel.
In voting against the bill, Sen. Bobby Powell, D West Palm Beach, said the potential impacts of the texting proposal on minorities outweigh the benefits.
as a state senator, I get in my car and I drive and when a police officer gets behind me, I never have the comfort, ever in life, of feeling safe, Powell, who is black, said.
While the requirement on reporting race and ethnicity was added,
the Senate panel rejected an attempt to make the proposal potentially stronger by requiring motorists to be free from electronic devices while behind the wheel.
Sen. Audrey Gibson, a Jacksonville Democrat who also voted against the amended measure, sought the hands free requirement to lessen the chance minorities would be racially profiled.
believe that it is impossible to determine with the phones that we have today whether someone is texting or dialing, Gibson said. like for us to be cautious. And hands free, there is no doubt whether someone is using their phone. Also, the devices could be used for such things as getting directions.
Gibson, who is black, said would be needed in her community about being extra careful when driving if a hands free provision is not added to the bill.
also know what it looks like to be a minority, and not every law enforcement agency in this state is sensitive, she said. sometimes leads to death. And there are a lot of factors that we should consider when we do something that impacts not one or two people, but every single person on the road.
don want the bill to be derailed because we tried to push too hard this session, Perry said.
Perry who has two driving age daughters, said the overall proposal is designed to change the behavior of motorists including himself rather than get people pulled over or allow law enforcement to raise money.
it as a secondary offense tells people, especially these young people, it OK, just don do something else, Perry said. don get caught. Don run a red light. Don do something else. Texting and driving is OK. And that what we telling young people.
The House version (HB 33), which does not have a similar race and ethnicity reporting requirement, is a priority of Speaker Richard Corcoran, R Land O Lakes.