Across the state of Florida at midnight, Tuesday, October 1, a new law that bans texting while driving went into effect.
You can't be cited for texting while driving without also violating another driving law.
A driver must first be pulled over for a violation of another traffic law before being cited for violating the texting-while-driving ban.
That includes emailing and instant messaging while driving.
There are some exceptions.
A driver is still allowed to text while the vehicle is stationary, when reporting an emergency or criminal or suspicious activity to law enforcement.
Using a device or system for navigational purposes and when receiving safety-related information is allowed.
The first violation is considered a noncriminal, nonmoving traffic violation which carries a $30 fine plus court costs.
The court costs vary by county and generally range from $78 to $100.
Subsequent violations carry graduated penalties.
If a driver commits a second offense within five years, a $60 fine is assessed. When the driver's violation results in a crash the penalties are stiffer.
When a driver is caught texting while driving driving in a school zone, and it is in conjunction with any moving violation for which points are assessed, two points are added to the license.
Cause a crash and six points will be added ot the driver's license in addition to other penalties.
If a driver causes a crash that results in death or personal injury, his cell phone records, or the oral or written testimony from those receiving text messages, may be admissible to prove whether a violation happened.
Read the complete bill: http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2013/0013 (Mobile link: http://bit.ly/1boayBp )
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