Proposed bill makes texting and driving primary offense

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Emotional parents pled their case to the state of Florida at Tuesday’s state Senate committee on distracted driving.

All of the parents at the hearing had lost a child because of a distracted driver.

Now they're urging state leaders to take a stand against texting and driving.

Demetrius Branca told the committee about his son, Anthony who he says was rear-ended while riding his motorcycle to school.

“If it causes some hassle, you know a lot of things cause hassle. My son's death has caused a lot of hassle in my life,” said Branca. "We can either choose to do nothing which is probably the worst choice. The second worst choice is we can pass this bill.” 

All parents spoke in favor of Senate Bill 90, which would make texting and driving a primary offense in the state. That means law enforcement could pull you over just for sending a message.

Currently, phone use is a secondary offense.

Not everyone at the meeting was onboard with the switch. Sen. Jeff Clemons was in favor of banning the use of mobile devices altogether when behind the wheel.

“We're putting our law enforcement officers into an incredibly uncomfortable situation when we're asking them to determine whether or not someone is actually texting,” said Clemons.

But Clemons’ proposed amendment to SB90 failed.

The bill specifically targets people texting, not someone just quickly changing a song or checking a direction. The bill successfully made its way out of the first committee meeting but there are several more to follow before any vote on the state House or Senate floor can take place.