The first ever Florida Distracted Driving Summit held last week in Tampa bay, brought together 3,000 people-police, emergency victims, victims of vehicle collisions caused by distracted driving, and public educators-all of whom are in favor of Florida having its own ban on distracted driving.

So far, 44 states have already passed laws limiting the use of handheld devices by motorists in one way or another. Some specifically target texting while driving, while others completely forbid the use of any handheld device for any reason. These laws run the gamut as do the fines and punishment which comes with violating the law. Florida is one of the most populous states without a distracted driving law. Texas is also without a distracted driving ban, but as is happening in Florida right now, legislators are beginning to cave to public pressure that they draft a statewide ban in one form or another.

There are communities around both Texas and Florida where distracted driving is illegal. In fact, state legislatures in both states have deferred the issue because they said they felt it was best left to municipalities to decide what would work best in their individual communities. This has proven problematic at best. A patchwork of laws regulating driving behaviors now crisscross Florida and Texas, leaving drivers confused and frustrated that they can’t just have one law for the entire state.

Businesses in South Florida have also organized successful campaigns to put their employees on notice that although the state may allow distracted driving, they do not and employees who insist on driving distracted risk not only their lives but also their jobs.

Florida legislators expect to have a final draft of a new law regulating distracted driving statewide finished early next year and so far, it seems likely the new law will pass with support from both parties.