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Updated Florida distracted driving law begins Oct. 1; Family remembers child killed in distracted driving crash

“The ultimate goal here is to keep your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road and your mind focused on your driving.”

Florida expanded its distracted driving law Monday in hopes that it will save more lives. 

Five seconds is all it takes to take your eyes off the road to send or read a text while driving. Approximately nine people are killed across the country each day because of distracted driving. A thousand more are injured in distracted driving-related crashes.

Florida hopes to reduce those numbers with its expanded law. The previous law just prohibited texting. But as of Monday, drivers can't legally hold their phone for any reason, including using navigation apps. The law also specifically singles out distracted driving in school and work zones.

Brooke Scherer and her husband Jordan Scherer told First Coast News, "We were robbed of our future with our kid," because of distracted driving. 

Their son Logan was killed by a distracted driver in 2016. He was 9 years old. 

Since his death, the Scherers have been advocating for stricter distracted driving laws through their Living For Logan Foundation. 

"The ultimate goal here is to keep your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road and your mind focused on your driving," Brooke Scherer said.

The Scherers were traveling to Ocala on Interstate-75 when the driver behind them slammed into the back of their SUV. The car was going at more than 100 mph. Logan was killed instantly. Jordan Scherer said that day, "We Learned the hard way, we paid the ultimate price."

While the expanded law includes being hands-free in school and work zones, the Scherers don't think it's enough. 

"It doesn't take into account everything else that can divert our attention, our eyes and our hands," Brooke Scherer said.

The original distracted driving law was passed in July 2019. It made texting while driving a primary offense. The updated law makes the penalties higher.

Drivers caught using any hand-held electronic device in a work or school zone will face a traffic citation, a $60 fine and 3 points on their license. 

Though the Scherers say this law is a step in the right direction for Florida, nothing can erase the death of their son. They hope distracted driving laws will be more strict in the future.

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