JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – No matter where Jerry Santillo drives, he sees it.
"I would say pretty much every time, if you pay attention, people are texting,” said Santillo.
And here in Florida it’s perfectly legal, at least for now. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Florida is just one of six states left in the country without even a partial law against texting while driving.
But that could soon change.
Multiple distracted driving bills have been filed in advance of this year’s legislative session.
SB 52 would ban texting while driving, making it a secondary offense.
SB 74 would prohibit drivers from using any “hand-held wireless communications device.”
There are even a couple of bills (SB 152 and HB 61) that just apply to drivers under the age of 18. They propose prohibiting minors from “operating a motor vehicle while using a wireless communications device or telephone.”
So, what are the chances something will actually change this year? We went to local State Senator Audrey Gibson, D-FL, to find out.
"Do you think this is the year something needs to be done,” Action News asked.
Gibson replied, “Well, I've never been opposed to the idea of enacting legislation.”
But, Gibson tells us she’d only support it if the law made texting while driving a secondary offense, meaning to get a ticket, drivers must be pulled over for something else first.
However, she thinks if we do go down that road, we must go all the way. Gibson is in favor of a ban on all hand-held devices when behind the wheel.
"If we want to be totally safe and fair let's just do what some other states have done and require only hands-free conversations,” said Gibson.
Drivers, like Santillo, admit that would be tough to adjust to, but it’s essential for safety.
"It's probably something that does need to be banned. Hopefully the lawmakers will crack down on it,” he said.
According to a survey by AAA, 87 percent of drivers say texting or emailing while driving is a “serious threat.”