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Florida law banning texting and driving goes into effect on July 1

Posted at 10:11 AM, Jun 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-28 14:20:30-04

(WTXL) — Starting Monday, texting and driving will get you pulled over in Florida.

On July 1, texting and driving will become a primary offense, allowing officers to pull you over for texting behind the wheel. Before Governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill, officers could only be cited for it if you were pulled over for another offense.

You won't be able to text while stuck in traffic nor will you be able to scroll through your social media or play games while driving.

Drivers will still be allowed to answer phone calls, use GPS or use Bluetooth as needed. You can also use your phone while your car is completely stationary, like at a red light, or in emergency situations.

However, the new law bans the any use of any handheld wireless devices in school zones or construction zones, meaning you're not allowed to pick up your phone in these hands-free zones at all.

If you're caught, law enforcement officers will be able to pull you over, but must ask for your phone. According to the law, officers must prove you were actually texting, not just checking your GPS or switching songs on iTunes.

But before they ask you to hand over your phone, they are required to inform you of your right to say no.

On Monday, officers will begin giving warnings until the end of the year. In January 2020, officers will begin writing citations.

A first offense is punishable by a $30 fine, with a second costing $60. Court costs and fees also would apply.

Gov. DeSantis signed the bill in May. Florida is one of the last states to make texting while driving a primary offense.