Published: Oct 05, 2010 11:23 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 05, 2010 8:20 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla. - A new policy bans on-duty Florida Highway Patrol troopers from using hand-held cell phones while driving.

The ban went into effect Monday, requiring troopers to use a hands-free device when using their cell phones while driving.

The policy also requires troopers to pull over when using a GPS device or to use it in voice-activated mode.

Bills prohibiting similar actions statewide have failed in consecutive years at the legislature phase.

"Whether or not this is the direction that the state ends up going will be up to the state legislatures. FHP has determined we will lead by example when it comes to public safety on our highways. This is the reason why we're doing it - we think it's the right thing to do we think it's the safest thing to do," said Trooper George Smyrnios.

Troopers will have to purchase the hands-free device themselves, as no tax-payer dollars will be used to issue out bluetooth earpieces or other devices.