Florida's texting while driving ban takes effect Tuesday

TAMPA, Fla. - The new state law banning texting while driving will officially take effect on October 1, making Florida the 41st state to institute this type of legislation.

After years of trying, state legislators were finally able to pass the ban this spring as a secondary offense. This means that police cannot just pull you over for texting, drivers must be stopped for something else first, such as speeding or a seatbelt violation.

Texting or emailing at a red light is still legal.  The vehicle must be in motion for the driver to be cited.

"We want people to be focused on driving and focused on situational awareness and not focused on texting," said Sen. Jeff Brandes, (R) St. Petersburg. "People can wait until they're stopped, until they're in a safe place to answer that text."

Those caught in the act will pay a $30 dollar fine for the first offense. A second offense will draw a $60 dollar fine plus 3 points on their driving record.

"You can still put in GPS coordinates. You can still make phone calls. You can still change your music, but don't be caught texting and driving," said Brandes.
But some drivers think the legislation will not be a big enough deterrent.

"It's not enough. It's just a tap on the wrist," said Ron Salomon.

'I'm surprised they even have to make a law," said Richard Schicker.

"To me it's common sense."

According to the National Safety Council, 1.6 million accidents a year are due to texting and driving. 

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