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Texting While Driving Becomes A Primary Offense Starting July 1

First person perspective of a driver who is texting. The driver holds a phone with a text message displayed on the screen. It reads, "Are you okay?" and "Can you pick up cough drops? I ate my last one." The driver's thumb is poised to start typing.
Roman Pohorecki

Beginning July 1, Florida drivers can be pulled over for texting while driving. The act becomes a primary offense, meaning police officers can pull someone over just for texting.

First time offenders will not have points assessed to their record, but second time offenders will. Representative Wengay Newton says the measure will keep Florida’s children safe.

“In my district a lot of the individuals—especially the school zones—that was near and dear to my heart,” says Newton. “People fly through those already at 20 and 30 miles an hour... Our future is crossing the street or either around the schools.”

Starting October 1, drivers cannot hold their phones while in school zones, school crossings, or active work zones. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles released a statement saying that until 2020 most offenders will only receive warnings as part of an effort to education the public on the new law.

White text with a blue border spells "Put it down." The "It" inside the screen of a smartphone. The "o" in down is an image of a steering wheel. The background is red.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is starting a campaign to encourage drivers to not text while driving.

Robbie Gaffney graduated from Florida State University with degrees in Digital Media Production and Creative Writing. Before working at WFSU, they recorded FSU’s basketball and baseball games for Seminole Productions as well as interned for the PBS Station in Largo, Florida. Robbie loves playing video games such as Shadow of the Colossus, Animal Crossing, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Their other hobbies include sleeping and watching anime.