Law for texting while driving has changed. Have you?

A sign along westbound Hillsboro Blvd. in Deerfield Beach reminds drivers not to text while driving. Photo courtesy Rolando Otero / Sun Sentinel

You would be wise to put the phone down while you are driving.

On Jan. 1, Florida’s ban on texting while driving went into full effect as a primary offense. Texting isn’t allowed. All other forms of typing on a mobile device, such as emailing and social media, aren’t allowed either.

For a first offense, it’s $30 plus court fees. For a second offense, it’s $60 plus court fees and three points on the driver’s record, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Florida A&M University sophomore Teirra Tysinger, a graphic design major, has mixed feelings about the new law.

“This fine will help decrease the amount of students who are hit while crossing the street and students who are involved in car accidents. It’s a start. But until people are hit with a fine they will probably keep doing it,” Tysinger said.

People between the ages of 20-29 made up the largest percent of drivers using their cell phones at the time of an accident, according to the National Highway

Driver setting up the do not disturb option on device to prevent texting and driving. Photo by Vanessa Ferguson

Traffic Safety Administration.

Once law enforcement sees the phone in your hand up to your face — you can be pulled over. Police officers cannot stop someone seen texting at a stoplight or tollbooth. Officers can only stop a driver for texting and driving when the car is in motion. Under the new Florida law, school zones and construction zones have been designated hand-free zones.

There are many things you can do to avoid the “blue light embarrassment.”

Law enforcement agencies recommend using Bluetooth or other hands-free technology like Android Auto or Apple Car Play.

Damon Miller, a FAMU graduate and Tallahassee Police Department spokesman, wants students to ask themselves this question: “Would you be able to live with yourself if you hit a child or you are responsible for the death of someone because you were texting on your phone for something that could’ve waited?”

There is no quota for issuing tickets, Miller said, and Tallahassee police officers aren’t out trying to make money. Tallahassee police just want the roads to be safe, Miller added.