Florida Highway Patrol Checking Roads for Texting and Driving Violators

The new state law went into effect Tuesday

By Justin Finch
|  Wednesday, Oct 2, 2013  |  Updated 1:55 AM EDT
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As of Tuesday, state law mandates that drivers cannot send status updates, texts or tweets – and now, Florida law enforcement will make sure they all do. Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Mark Wysocky and drivers Nina Patel, Zenitha Haq, John Johnally and Julia Widdecombe spoke about the issue.

As of Tuesday, state law mandates that drivers cannot send status updates, texts or tweets – and now, Florida law enforcement will make sure they all do. Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Mark Wysocky and drivers Nina Patel, Zenitha Haq, John Johnally and Julia Widdecombe spoke about the issue.

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Almost every driver has had to resist the urge.

"When you're driving, and you hear it go off and you just want to answer it and you want to know who it is; but, I think it can wait," said Zenith Haq.

As of Tuesday, state law mandates that drivers cannot send status updates, texts or tweets – and now, Florida law enforcement will make sure they all do.

Team 6 was invited to tag along with the Florida Highway Patrol as they checked the roads for violators on the first day the measure went into effect. The FHP finds about 11 percent of fatal crashes involving drivers 20 and under could be linked to being distracted.

"That's the ones we have to get to and make sure they don't start doing it. We have a lot of young people like teenagers and stuff who are constantly on their cell phones; but they're also so many adults who are using their cell phones," said FHP spokesman Sgt. Mark Wysocky

The base fine is $30, a second offense is $60, and repeat violators also risk points on their licenses.

The law permits drivers to text while stopped.

In addition, driving while texting is a secondary offense. That means law enforcement must first pull a driver over for a primary offense like speeding before they can cite for texting. The total citation could cost a violator well over $150 in South Florida.

"I'm not going to lie, I was a repeat offender; but now, I think I'm going to definitely try harder to not text and drive," admitted Nina Patel.

"I definitely do support it. I think it's going to make a lot of young people come home safe, and a lot of innocent lives saved," explained Jordan Johnally.

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