GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. -- Texting while driving has now been illegal for over 30 days, but are deputies on the roads really able to enforce the law?
The Clay County Sheriff's Office has issuedzero citations for texting while driving and deputies are saying the statute's language is making it difficult to enforce the law.
Maureen Blakeney is no stranger to laws banning texting and driving. She lived in New York for 19 years where any hand-held activity with your cell phone while driving is illegal.
"It will ask you for the phone number or the name and it will dial it out for you," said Blakeney, who now uses hands-free dialing and voice-activated commands.
Blakeney is now living in North Florida and says she's shocked when she sees drivers texting behind the wheel.
"I have seen it on the roads before yes, and it sort of scares me and I guess you have to wait for the police to catch up with everything here and its more thing on their list to do," said Blakeney.
Thestate appeared to be traveling in the right direction when it implemented a no texting while driving law this October, but the problem is that officers can only cite you for textingafter you've committed a primary traffic offense.
"Just because a deputy sees someone driving down the road texting, he or she can't pull that person over first for that offense. There has to be speeding or reckless driving or some other offense involved," said Mary Justino, the Public Information Officer for the Clay County Sheriff's Office.
Clay County isn't the only county having problems with enforcing the law. The St. Johns County Sheriff's office also has no citations for texting and driving from October 1st to Nov 1st. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said it has issuedthree citations in that time frame.
"What I am hearing back from our deputies is just that it's an extremely difficult statute to enforce," said Justino.
And the reason why is because there are many exemptions; you can still use navigation on your phone, you can still use a voice talk to text function and you can still text, email or instant message when your vehicle is not moving.
"That's really where the statute has lost its bite or its enforcement," added Justino.
A new bill was filed by a State Senator Maria Sachs of District 34,who is changing the language to make texting while driving a primary offense. If the bill passes in the next state legislation session it would go into effect next October.