No texting while driving law to begin Tuesday

First offense $30

ORLANDO, Fla. - Law enforcement agencies across the state are making a last-ditch push to remind drivers that come Tuesday texting and driving will be illegal in Florida.

In Flager County, Sheriff Jim Manfre is even showing a PSA in movie theaters to young people -- those who the Florida Highway Patrol says are more likely to be distracted by texting.

FHP says nationally 11 teens die each day as a result of texting.

Sgt. Kim Montes, FHP spokeswoman, says the new law will be a challenge to enforce because of the way the law's written. Troopers will need to prove someone is texting and that's difficult, when the law allows them to do other things with their phones while driving.

There is an exception to the law for using a phone for navigation and even listening to music.

"I see a lot of people weaving in and out, slowing down, causing traffic problems," said driver Steve Krall. "If it's against the law, pull them over. Give them a ticket."

But with Florida's new texting ban, drivers can't be pulled over just for texting. It's a secondary offense so you'd need to be stopped for something else first, like speeding.

Montes says troopers will be looking for texters to commit another violation like running a red light, driving below the posted speed limit, or not stopping at a stop sign. Then they'd be able to write a ticket for texting as well.

Voice-texting is also legal under the law.

A first offense for texting will cost $30.

"No text is worth $30 or a life," said driver Kira Krall. "So for me, it'd be a concern, and it is a concern now, but for some people $30 is nothing, so they might still do it."

Drivers like Kira Krall and her dad Steve hope the fact that texting is against the law will be enough. However, they do worry drivers won't take it seriously if they can't even be pulled over for doing it.

"If they're going to enact a law, it should be a law that they pull you over for."

Local 6 learned there are lawmakers who want to be more aggressive against texting while driving.

State Sen. Darren Soto, (D)-Orlando, is working on a bill to make texting that causes a deadly accident vehicular homicide.

"I was pretty outraged to understand that someone could literally kill somebody else while texting and driving and receive only a civil fine," he said.

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