Florida Texting While Driving Ticketing Begins New Year’s Day

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) — Beginning on New Year’s Day, drivers in Florida who are caught texting while driving will be stopped and given a ticket.

The state’s new law, which makes texting while driving a primary offense, began July 1st but motorists were given a six-month period during which warnings were issued.

There are exceptions to the rule. It’s okay to text if a vehicle is stopped at a red light. And motorists can use a GPS device while driving.

“As a new year begins, I am proud to give law enforcement the ability to fully enforce the Wireless Communications While Driving law,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a news release sent by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Drivers can also be ticketed if they aren’t using devices in a hands-free manner in designated school crossings, school zones or active work zones.

The penalty for first-time violators is $30 plus court costs. The fee doubles to $60, plus court costs and three points added to the driver’s license in school and work zones.

“Distracted driving significantly slows your reaction time and places you, your passengers, and others on the road in danger,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, director of the Florida Highway Patrol.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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