We reported about Florida’s texting and driving law when it originally went into effect back in July. When the new year gets underway, law enforcement statewide will begin writing drivers tickets if they are caught breaking the law.
Beginning Jan.1, law enforcement officers in Southwest Florida will begin serving drivers traffic citations if caught texting and driving. So we looked at when drivers will be at fault for texting behind the wheel.
The new law applies to drivers texting on a phone while the car is in motion. Motorists texting while stopped at a red light will not be at fault under the new law. It’s also still permissible to use a phone’s GPS while the vehicle is in motion, though it’s recommended to type in your destination before you start driving.
There was a six-month warning period after the law went into effect in July. After Jan.1, police will begin to issue tickets to law breakers.
Technically, drivers can still hold a phone in their hands to talk on the phone, but it’s not recommended to do so.
The penalty for first-time violators is $30 plus court costs, which could add up to more than $100.
The new law also makes school zones and work zones hands-free areas. Those caught breaking the law in these zones face a $60 fine, court costs and three points added to the driver’s license.
Tammy Palmateer told us this law should have been passed a long time ago.
“Because it’s so dangerous, people are going off the road, causing accidents, not paying any attention to the road,” Palmateer said. “Instead, they’re all in their phone.”