Steve Augello lost his 17-year-old daughter Allie five years ago in a head-on crash that he believes was caused by distracted driving. Since then, the Spring Hill father has testified at hearing after hearing in Tallahassee.
Spring Hill, Florida -- It may not be the toughest law in the country but a texting and driving ban is finally on the books here in Florida.
Today in Miami, Governor Rick Scott signed legislation banning texting and driving starting Oct. 1.
The new law prohibits drivers from using their phones to text or email while they're driving, but police officers will only be able to cite a driver if they've committed some other infraction first, like speeding.
A first offense would bring a $30 fine. A second offense within five years carries a slightly heftier fine of $60.
Critics say the new law still leaves drivers with too many possible distractions. Drivers can still legally speak on the phone and texting at a red light or stop sign is still okay too.
The answer, they say, is eventually to ban all phone usage in the car while driving.
Steve Augello from Spring Hill calls it a stepping stone.
His daughter Allie was killed nearly five years ago by a driver who crash investigators believe was texting.
"The battle's been won, but the war's not over," vowed Augello.
Augello, who traveled to Tallahassee several times to push for a texting ban, agrees the law is still weak, but it's something to build on.
"My job's not done. I'll be back in Tallahassee next year to fight for a stronger law," said Augello.
Florida becomes the 40th state to enact some sort of texting ban.
Some states have gone a lot further by banning all cell phone use while driving, not just texting.
"Other states are probably just more receptive to understand that it's that important to be safe," said Michele Harris with AAA the Auto Club Group in Tampa.
Harris says they support any move toward safer roads, and believe the new law will save lives. They also agree it could be stronger.
"We have a long road ahead of us to fight that good fight," she said.
The 100 days between now and Labor Day are among the deadliest for teenagers with crashes increasingly attributed to texting.
That's why communications giant AT&T says it's stepping up its no-texting-and-driving campaign this summer.
Augello says for years the cell phone giants opposed such laws, fearing it would cost them money.
Now, he says they appear to have come around, which gives him confidence a tougher ban will eventually pass.
"I'm doing this because I lost my 17-year-old daughter," said Augello. "November it'll be five years. And it hurts just as bad today as the day it happened. And I know it's gonna hurt the rest of my life, and I don't want to see anybody else go through what we're going through."