Florida is finally taking a stand against distracted driving.
It's now the 41st state to prohibit texting while driving. The new ban went into place on Monday at midnight. Although the new law is relatively lenient compared to those in other states, (some of which, like New York, have outlawed using a cell phone while driving altogether), it's a solid first step towards improving roadway safety in a new technological age.
What should Florida drivers expect? For one, texting while driving is only a secondary offense. That means that a police officer would have to pull you over for another violation, like running a stop sign or speeding, before they could issue a texting citation. There are also a few loopholes to note. Using a cell phone for navigation is legal, as is texting when your vehicle is not in motion.
First time violators of the new law can expect a $30.00 fine. Receiving more than one texting violation within 5 years will be punishable as a "moving violation" and can add three points to your license. (Accruing 12 points in 12 months leads to a 30 day license suspension.) Any car crash that occurs as a result of cell phone usage will earn a driver six points. Perhaps most importantly, cell phone records can now be subpoenaed in crashes resulting in death or personal injury.