TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Her sister was killed in a reckless driving crash years ago, so the passage of an anti-texting while driving bill is among State Rep. Emily Slosberg's most sacred tributes.
"This is going to save lives in our state," she said the morning after the legislature passed legislation for which she fought so long.
The new bill calls for verbal warnings from July through the end of the year. After that, a first offense means a $30 fine, a second means $60 plus three points on your license.
The point is, they can now pull you over just for texting while you're driving.
Mark Jenkins of AAA of Florida says legislation like this works.
"Take a look at seatbelts," said Jenkins. "When [not wearing a seat belt] became a primary enforcement situation, people did comply, the numbers were there."
The legislation also bans the use of handheld phones in a school zone or manned construction zone.
The law requires officers to track the race of who they're pulling over, to prevent profiling.
Phones can only be searched for proof if the potential texter injures someone. Property damage is not included. Officers also have to tell drivers phone searches are not allowed without warrants.
"It opens a lot of doors, it's a slippery slope to where you can be perceived to be texting and driving and not doing it," said Strobel, "so now you're in a situation where you are pulled over."
"The badge number of the officer will be on that, as well, to see if there is one particular officer who is abusing the system," said Kayna Cory of the Florida Don't Text and Drive Coalition (FL DNT TXTNDRV).
The law, however, stops short of saying drivers cannot hold their phones, (with the exception of school and construction zones). Also, GPS devices are exempt.
Officers will have to distinguish between them. The law also leaves alone other distracted driving, like putting on makeup or eating.
"At the end of the day, there are so many different potential distractions for drivers, that it really comes down to the individual to really change their habits," said Jenkins.
The state has to run a public education campaign during the grace period.
The governor will decide whether Florida joins 44 states in saying: Don't text, just drive.