SARASOTA, Fla. (NSF/FOX 13) - Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill Friday that will make texting while driving in Florida a primary traffic offense.
The measure is designed to reduce distracted driving. In the past, police have only been able to cite motorists for texting while driving if they are pulled over for other reasons.
By making it a primary offense, the state is allowing police to pull people over solely for texting behind the wheel. State Representative Emily Slosberg (D-Boca Raton) co-sponsored the measure.
“Once you take this type of legislation and it changes from secondary to primary, compliance skyrockets,” Slosberg said. “Law enforcement can now pull you over when they see you with your hands on the phone, distracted and driving. This is going to save lives in our state.”
The new law, which goes into effect Oct. 1, also requires that drivers only use hands-free devices while driving in school and work zones.
Until now, Florida had been one of the last handful of states where texting while driving was not considered a primary offense.
“Every single day you see it. Young drivers, older drivers, everybody out on our roadways with their hands on a cell phone, distracted driving,” Slosberg said. “It is incredibly dangerous. It just can’t be done safely. There is no argument to say that you can safely text and drive, because you can’t.”