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Texting while driving recently became illegal in Florida, so it is important for motorists to understand the new laws and the effects they are having statewide.

Texting while driving is a secondary offense, which means that law enforcement officers cannot pull you over or issue a ticket for texting alone. However, if you are pulled over for a driving offense while texting, you may receive an additional fine of up to $30 for a first citation.

Some exceptions to the new texting while driving ban include the following:

  • Drivers are still permitted to send texts while they are stopped at red lights. But they must put the phone down and drive responsibly as soon as the light changes to green.
  • Drivers are exempt from the $30 fine if the text constitutes a report to law enforcement about suspicious activities, criminal behavior or emergency situations.
  • Those sending messages relating to the safe operation of the vehicle, road conditions, navigation, traffic or weather are also exempt.
  • Those using hands-free communication tools or devices that require only minimal touch activation may not be subject to texting while driving fines under the state law

Although the penalties for violating the new texting while driving ban are relatively minor when compared to those for violating other driving regulations, Florida law officials have vowed to engage in strict enforcement. Additionally, there is considerable discussion throughout the state about making texting a primary driving offense, which could result in much higher fines or other types of legal penalties in the future.

If you’ve been accused of texting while driving or another traffic violation, you may need to work with an Orlando attorney to explore your legal options.

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