Senator Maria Sachs (D-Delray) joins with Mike Jackson, Chairman and CEO of AutoNation Inc., in announcing the filing of a new bill to strengthen the ban against texting while driving in Florida.

The press conference will take place at 11 AM on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at:

AutoNation Building

200 SW 1st Avenue, 15th Floor
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Contact Senator Maria Sachs’ office for further information at (561) 279-1427 or sachs.maria@flsenate.gov.

Texting While Driving (First Offense)

  • 39 states have a primary offense for texting while driving.
  • Drivers under the age of 18 have an overall Cell Phone Ban in 21 states
  • There are 10 states that have a ban on texting, but not on overall cell phone use
  • Virginia has a primary enforcement for school bus drivers; Utah has a primary enforcement for texting while driving only; Nebraska is purely secondary; Iowa is secondary for texting. The other 46 states use primary enforcement.

Michael Jackson – Auto Nation

Michael Jackson has been the Chief Executive Officer of AutoNation since September 1999 and has been with the company for 12 years.

Background and Summary:

Texting while driving surpassed alcohol as the leading cause of teen related driving deaths in 2011. The current texting while driving bill, which became legal today (October 1) represents a significant step to further ensure that our loved ones are safe on the roads. For years, this issue was tabled before even getting to committee. Finally, after I was elected to the Senate district 34 in 2012, this issue was able to be brought before the session and voted upon.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 24% of all crashes involve cell phones. So, while I am pleased that the State of Florida has taken the first step toward safer roads by making texting while driving a secondary offense, I believe more needs to be done.

As your State Senator, I am intent upon expanding the law to include all handheld devices which would focus the driver’s attention away from the road.

The traffic accident statistics are alarming: Palm Beach County’s traffic deaths jumped by 21% from 2011 to 2012 with law enforcement citing cell phones as a key reason.

We take strict safety measures against drinking and driving – an offense that threatens lives on the road. Seatbelt laws, while they took many years to be enacted, are also safety measures we take very seriously. It is time we take life-threatening distractions seriously. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says drivers are 23 times more likely to crash their vehicle if texting while driving. Our law enforcement officials and first responders have seen it firsthand.

Over the year I have received countless emails from constituents, including first responders, supporting strict action against texting while driving. The risks and the threats are real, and the time to act is now.

My 2014 bill, which I will introduce in the next Legislative Session, will make texting while driving a primary offense, enabling law enforcement to make a lawful stop when someone is texting while driving. As your Senator, your continued support is critical as I continue to fight for your safety and the passage of stricter legislation on this issue.

Because texting while driving doesn’t just impact drivers. All it takes is a second – and the consequences can be catastrophic