Deadly crash is one more reason lawmaker wants a ban on texting behind the wheel

Lawmaker pushing for texting while driving ban

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Florida doesn't have any type of law against cell phone use while driving and it is one of a handful across the country without it. One local lawmaker says the state needs one after another deadly weekend crash, this time in Lake Worth.

Florida Highway Patrol says one of the drivers, 35-year-old Raynald Petigny, was thought to have been texting while driving.

It happened around 6 a.m. Saturday on I-95 heading southbound and it left his Infiniti SUV crushed. 

This is just one reason why Florida State Representative Irv Slosberg of District 90 says it's time for a ban against texting behind the wheel.

"Sounds logical right? Wrong," Rep. Slosberg said. "It's not so easy to get done."

Failing to yield was the leading cause of fatal crashes in Palm Beach County in 2010. Statistics show behind it was speeding, improper lane changes and careless driving which includes texting.

In Broward County, careless driving was the leading cause of crashes. It cost 26 people their lives.

"It's a chronic problem," he said.

A chronic problem Rep. Slosberg is determined to prevent this year by creating a law against it, but first he wants to start with minors.

"It's not that I wouldn't like to have a no texting, no cell phone use for everyone law, but you have to start somewhere," Rep. Slosberg said.

He says minors need to paying attention to the road as young drivers not texting with their friends. At least 6 states have that same type of legislation, but he says even that will be tough to do.

"The Florida Senate understands road safety but the Florida House of Representatives just doesn't understand road safety," he added.

He's hoping, tragic scenes like the one over the weekend will change that and change it fast.

"It takes persistence and persistence.  It takes relationships and sooner or later it's going to get done and hopefully it's going to be this session," Rep. Slosberg added.

The first offense fine in most states is around $150.


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