Don’t Text And Drive Law Effective October 1, 2013

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Starting Oct. 1, texting while driving will be illegal in Florida. Bill boards along the state's highways will light up Thursday, Oct. 1 and Oct. 15 with the message "Don't text and drive, It's the law."  Florida will become the 41st state to prohibit texting while driving for all motorists. But unlike the majority of those states, the law will be a secondary offense. That means an officer will have to witness another offense, like swerving or running a stop sign, to ticket the driver. Texting is permitted if you're stopped at a red light or if you have a talk-to-text device like the iPhone's Siri. The penalties are $30 plus court costs for a first offense and $60 for a second offense.  The state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the Department of Transportation will join a campaign being led by wireless phone companies to discourage students from texting while driving. The average, teen sends five times as many text messages a day as a typical adult.  The FDOT has adapted for Florida materials from a federal program against distracted driving and, with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, is sponsoring "Put It Down Day" Oct. 1 to coincide with the new law.  The violation will be a secondary offense, meaning law enforcement officials must pull drivers over for another reason.  Drivers cannot manually type or enter multiple letters, numbers, symbols or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data for "nonvoice interpersonal communication." This includes texting, emailing and instant messaging. Texting is allowed in hands-off, high-tech cars and when a car is stopped at a red light or in a traffic jam. Get a free "Dont Text and Drive" bumper sticker at The Law Offices of Charles D. Scott Attorneys, 4755 Central Ave, St. Pete, or Call us at 727-300-4878.http://www.yourstpetelawyers.com

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