Texting While Driving
Last Friday was a BIG day – the Governor signed into law Texting While Driving as a Primary Offense. It should be noted that Texting While Driving was on the books in 2013, but only as a secondary offense (meaning law enforcement could only pull you over if another traffic infraction had taken place, then ticket for texting). Six years to get the infraction to primary, meaning now law enforcement can pull over just for texting. We know it’s not perfect, but it is MORE than what we have now.
The news was shared last week on FBA Facebook and FBA membership e-news. We anticipated that the news wouldn’t make everyone happy and that’s OK. Again, we know it’s not a perfect law. For anyone who has ever advocated for state or federal laws, there’s an understanding that sometimes it takes baby steps; it’s all part of the process.
OK, so the political process sucks. I agree. But I can’t stress enough what the real process is that all of us are trying to achieve: relationship. To this I wish to thank every FBA member and their leadership for sharing all of our communications to engage others to participate in the process of engaging elected officials.
If you did it respectfully, there’s a good chance of your building on the relationship. This is key to next session when our association will go back to pursuing our Move Over for People initiative. This initiative is to include PEOPLE in the current Move Over law which currently only indicates to move over for vehicles. The inclusion of PEOPLE will include bicyclists and replace what we know to be an unenforceable 3-foot passing law. Yes, law enforcement as told us the 3-foot passing law in unenforceable and FBA has stats proving that Move Over is enforceable. Besides, as much as no one can correctly guess 3 feet of distance from the driver’s seat of a car, two words, MOVE OVER, is easily understood by the public and a clear, physical motion that law enforcement can measure.
FBA hopes to have the same level of engagement (if not increased) from you and your elected officials next session as we seek to find bill sponsors and work the process of changing this law to include PEOPLE. The last three years of FBA having a presence in Tallahassee by attending committee meetings, walking the halls and dropping by offices to ask and thank is paying off. FBA is being recognized, and in a good way.
This is good for Florida cyclists and YOU as we need the support to get more laws into place that will be enforceable and will save lives. It’s an honor to represent the greater good in this way and humbling to know FBA members are part of the process. Our community is growing and our voices are being heard.
FBA hopes all of us celebrate this victory because, even though it’s not perfect, it is still a victory worth celebrating. You don’t get to the perfect season in football without that first victory. To this point, FL legislation has a season, it’s called SESSION and it happens once a year for approximately 3 months. There’s plenty of work to be done in the off season/session as there is during. The fundamental exercise here is to build a respectful relationship.
FBA knows that getting Texting as a Primary Offense is just a step and we will continue to take steps, step by step, to advocate for Florida cyclists. Your membership matters and we appreciate that YOU are part of this process.