74ºF

Law enforcement officers to begin ticketing drivers for texting


DAVIE, Fla. – To kick off 2020, Florida Highway Patrol troopers and other law enforcement agencies will be ticketing drivers who are caught texting while driving.

“As of now, we have conducted 1,099 stops due to texting while driving in the state of Florida,” FHP Lt. Yanko Reyes said.

According to the FHP, the first time a driver is stopped for texting, they’ll be cited with a non-moving violation.

“If you get stopped for a second time within 5 years, then it’s a moving violation which carries three points and increases the fine,” Reyes said.

When this law first went into effect in July, troopers were handing out warnings not fines, but now that we're in 2020, that grace period is over.

“Everything that you need to focus on driving is taken away,” Reyes said.

Drivers are still allowed to use GPS, make and answer phone calls and read emergency alerts as long as they aren't driving through school or construction zones. But that part is what makes enforcement challenging.

Legal experts say law enforcement officials can’t make you show them your phone once they pull you over. Regardless, the law and the fine sends a clear message.

“We want to remind everyone to be safe, to pay attention, to put it down. That it can wait,” Reyes said.

One thing that sets Florida’s law apart from other states is that you can’t get ticketed if your car isn’t in motion, such as at a red light.


About the Author: