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New push to shore up state's distracted driving law underway

Florida is one of a few states remaining in the country that does not have a law which allows police to pull people over simply because they notice a person texting and driving or otherwise using a cell phone while trying to drive.

In Florida, under current law, officers can only issue a ticket for texting and driving in connection with another traffic violation.

Now, with new lawmakers in place, there is hope that the state's Legislature will finally pass tougher restrictions on distracting driving, specifically distractions involving texting and driving or talking on cell phones.

One measure currently pending before the Legislature is what some dub a one-touch law. If passed in its present form, a driver would be allowed to press one button to initiate a call and one button to terminate a call. The driver would not be allowed to hold his or her phone in the hand or otherwise manipulate his or her phone or electronic device.

There have also been recent discussions among lawmakers that could lead to a movement to make texting and driving a primary traffic offense, meaning officers will be able to stop and ticket a driver for being on his or her phone, even if the driver was still somehow managing to operate the vehicle safely in other respects.

Hopefully, the lawmakers' efforts to curb the ongoing distracted driving problem in this state will be successful, as there have been legal and political holdups to this process in past years. In the meantime, Tampa residents who have been hurt in car accidents caused by distracted drivers should remember that they have legal options available to them.

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