3 To Know: Texting while driving
1. New Florida law makes texting while driving primary offense
Florida will become one of the last states to make texting while driving a primary traffic offense under a bill signed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday.
The new law will also ban the use of any handheld wireless communications devices in school and construction zones. Under current law, officers can only cite drivers for texting if they are pulled over for another violation. The new law allows officers to stop motorists simply for texting alone. DeSantis signed the bill at a Sarasota high school.
“Studies have shown that texting while driving is one of the worst of all driving distractions and a recent study ranked
Florida as the second worst state for distracted driving,” DeSantis said. “It’s my hope that by taking action to address distracted drivers today, that we will be able to make our roads safer and hopefully prevent some of these crashes that we’ve seen, injuries and, unfortunately, some of the deaths that we’ve seen.”
DeSantis said that in 2016, Florida had nearly 50,000 accidents caused by distracted driving resulting in 233 deaths.
2. Leaping Lizards: Florida wildlife officials catch big lizard
Wildlife officials have finally captured a large invasive Asian water monitor that had been running loose in the Florida Keys for more than a year.
Florida Fish and Wildlife officials posted pictures on Facebook, with this caption: “Elusive lizard captured!”
The lizard was more than 5 feet long and weighed 20 pounds.
Crews of staff members and volunteers had been setting traps and searching for the lizard. Once it was caught, the lizard was removed from the wild. Wildlife officials said this helps prevent the establishment of a new nonnative species.
Wildlife officers advise people to snap pictures if they see nonnative wildlife and report it to the agency.
3. T-Mobile, Sprint make concessions, FCC chairman supports $26B merger
T-Mobile and Sprint have made enough concessions that the nation's top telecom regulator is prepared to approve the telecom companies' $26 billion merger.
The combined company will sell Sprint's Boost Mobile prepaid cellphone brand and commit to deploying a super-fast, next-generation 5G network covering 97% of the U.S., Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement Monday.
“The companies have also taken steps to respond to concerns that have been raised about this transaction," Pai said. "Most importantly, in addition to their prior commitment not to raise prices for three years, T-Mobile and Sprint have decided to divest Boost Mobile. This sale is designed to address potential competitive issues that have been identified in the prepaid wireless segment."
Pai said he will recommend the FCC approve the deal, which also requires Justice Department approval.