Sheriff Tom Knight would like to remind motorists that Florida’s new texting while driving ban goes into effect at midnight tonight, or 12:01 a.m., Tuesday, October 1, 2013.
The new law bans drivers from typing on a device while operating a moving vehicle. Texting while stopped at a red light is considered acceptable under this law. It is a secondary offense and a non-moving violation, so drivers would have to be stopped for another infraction first.
Florida State Statute 316.305 states: A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data on such a device for the purpose of non-voice interpersonal communication, including, but not limited to, communication methods known as texting, e-mailing, and instant messaging. As used in this section, the term "wireless communications device" means any handheld device used or capable of being used in a handheld manner, that is designed or intended to receive or transmit text or character-based messages, access or store data, or connect to the Internet or any communications service as defined in Florida State Statute 812.15 and that allows text communications.
“There will be some difficulties enforcing the law at first, but it will certainly improve safety,” said Sheriff Knight. “Just like the seat belt law in 1987, we can fine-tune it as we go forward.”