TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Gov. Rick Scott signs legislation banning texting while driving in Florida. The new law takes effect October 1.
Florida becomes the 41st state to ban texting behind the wheel. Six other states apply the ban only to young drivers.
Bill sponsor Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, worked for years to try to get the texting ban through the Legislature and finally succeeded this year.
"I am thrilled that Governor Scott has supported the legislature and signed this bill. Texting while driving is an issue we see on our roads every day and the distractions it causes have negatively affected too many Floridians," Detert said. "This new law can now lead the way to making our roads safer for Florida drivers and will help teens to form safe driving habits."
When the law takes effect, violations will cost $30 plus court costs. Second offenses include a $60 fine and assess three points on your driver's license.
AAA calls it a great day for Florida.
Spokeswoman Brenda Smith says 92 percent of Floridians support a ban on texting while driving.
She said the new law will help change people's behavior when they drive, just as seat belts did many years ago.
"With seat belts we had to learn to change our behavior and now we don't even think twice about when we get in, before we turn the ignition on, we put our seat belt on and prepare ourselves to safely drive. So AAA feels confident that texting while driving will become the same manner. Many lives will be saved and a lot of injuries that could have occurred will not happen in the state of Florida."
The texting ban will be a secondary offense when it goes into effect in October. That means police will have to see another violation to stop a driver.
Marshall Criser of AT&T Florida praised Sen. Detert and House sponsor Rep. Doug Holder, R-Sarasota, for their efforts getting the bill passed.
"Florida has reinforced the message that texting while driving is a deadly habit. It's a simple message. No text is worth dying for. It Can Wait."
The measure did face some opposition from lawmakers who thought it was a government intrusion in people's lives.
The final version includes a compromise allowing drivers to text when they're stopped at a traffic light or stuck in traffic. Also, prosecutors won't be able to get phone records from offenders unless the case involves a crash with injuries or a death.