Texting ban takes effect today

On October 1, 2013

Motorists who decide to text while behind the wheel will now face tougher penalties if caught in the state of Florida.

The new ban on texting while driving goes into effect today.

Lt. Charlotte Domingo, Public Information Officer for University Police, said that if caught, drivers could face a non-moving fine of $30 plus court fees.

If an individual commits the offense a second time within a five-year period, it becomes a moving violation with a larger penalty.

In a case in which texting is thought to be the cause of an accident, law enforcement officers may pull a driver’s phone records. If records show the driver was texting at the time of the crash, six points may be added to their license.

Under the new law, texting while driving is considered a secondary offense, which means officers will not be able to pull a driver over solely for texting behind the wheel. Officers can only cite a driver for violating the ban if they were pulled over for another primary offense.

Domingo said the law aims to lessen the number of drivers choosing to divert their eyes away from the road to answer a text message.

“I’ve actually had someone who was obviously distracted by texting on their phone almost hit ... my vehicle,” Domingo said. “Anything that takes away a driver’s primary concentration is a danger to everyone else on the road.”

 

— Staff report

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