Over a hundred new laws go into effect in Florida on Monday with one law, in particular, causing quite a stir.
Right now, texting and driving is a secondary offense meaning that officers can only give you a citation if they are already pulling you over for another reason. But starting July 1, officers will be able to pull you over for just the suspicion of texting and driving alone - this making it a primary offense.
Sgt. Dylan Bryan with the Florida Highway Patrol says that troopers will only be giving out warning through Jan. 1, 2020 in an attempt to educate drivers on the new law.
Don't get too comfortable though. While FHP says they won't be ticketing folks immediately, other law enforcement agencies haven't made the same guarantee.
Starting October 1 the law goes a step further. A hands-free portion of the law will prohibit any use of your phone in school zones and construction zones with workers present.
This includes taking phone calls, holding the phone for GPS purposes, and texting - in these zones you must operate your phone hands-free. All law enforcement agencies cannot ticket for this until January 1.
As far as penalties, there will be a $30 base fine for texting and driving and a $60 base fine for violating a hands-free zone. With added court costs and fees, the cost ends up being upwards of $100.
Rest assured, though, none of these new laws apply to you if your car is stopped. This means that when you stop at lights and stop signs you’re good to use your phone however you please.
The law states that officers will have to record the race and ethnicity of anyone they cite for these infractions, so those statistics are accounted for.