Beginning Monday, a new Florida law will go into effect allowing law enforcement officers to stop and ticket drivers suspected of texting while driving.
As of Monday, texting, emailing and instant messaging while driving will be considered a primary traffic offense.
A first offense will be punishable by a $30 fine. A second offense within five years will cost drivers $60, and three points will be added to his or her license.
"The law only specifically addresses a person typing into an electronic device," Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Kim Montes said. "Holding the phone, talking on the phone, using it as a GPS (device) -- that is still legal come Monday."
The ban does not apply to a driver whose vehicle is stationary, such as being stopped at a red light.
Montes said law enforcement officers will not ask to see drivers' phones unless they are involved in a crash in which someone is seriously injured or killed, but a warrant must first be obtained.
"If I stop you, I cannot ask you for your phone," she said. "Law enforcement cannot ask you for your cellphone to see what you were doing."
"We have had several crashes in this area the last couple of years (in which) the deceased driver actually still has the phone in the hand," Montes said.
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