Proposed Bills Would Ban Phones, Dog Petting While Driving

What to Know

  • Opponents point to a clause that would apply to other actions not listed, something critics say would allow cops to pull over anyone.

Two members of the Florida Legislature have introduced bills aimed at preventing distracted driving in the state – bills that include punishments for everything from cell phone use to petting your dog while behind the wheel.

Rep. Jackie Toledo and Sen. Wilton Simpson, both Republicans from the Tampa area, told the Tampa Bay Times that the state needs stricter laws for safer roads.

“The focus of this bill is to save lives and get people’s behavior to change,” said Toledo. “While you’re driving, you should be focused on driving.”

The bills initially focused on the use of wireless devices like cell phones, but has since expanded.

Under the new proposed legislation, tasks that would become illegal under state law would include reading, writing, personal grooming and applying products as well as interacting with pets among other items.

Opponents point to a clause that would apply to other actions not listed, something critics say would allow law enforcement to pull over anyone at anytime.

The bills, which would give Florida some of the toughest laws in the nation regarding driving if passed, still must go through several committees in both chambers before coming to a full vote.