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Bill that can make texting and driving a primary offense in Florida

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SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Kenn Watson has seen it many times before.  Distracted drivers texting and driving, getting too close to other cars--endangering the lives of others.  He says it absolutely critical for this bill to be passed.

"Any tool that we can have that can help educate the public, that will help us make the roads a little safer is something that we want to see."

Watson points to Florida with having some of the most dangerous roads in the country.   According to the federal government, they estimate that texting and other distracted driving killed almost 35-hundred people nationally--more than 9 per day--and injured almost 400-thousand.  Political Science Professor at the New College of Florida Frank Alcock says it's an important step for the state to take.

"Making it a primary offense increasing the fine will open the door to sanctions to this activity which is needed."

President of the Manatee Chapter of the NAACP Rodney Jones says given the tragic consequences of texting and driving,  he believes the bill is important, but he does have some concerns.

"I think the bill could be perceived in some communities as another opportunity for law enforcement to potentially racial profile."

And according to Alcock, there needs to be clarity on enforcing the law, if it passes.

"It's going to be very important for law enforcement, FDLE in particular if this law passes to release protocols with respect to how they intend to implement this law."