Throughout the state of Florida on October 01, 2013, law enforcement officers will have a few more traffic laws to address while on publicly-traversed roadways. Tampa Bay area law enforcement officers will tackle the newly-passed "Ban on Texting While Driving Law" which was endorsed by Florida Governor Rick Scott on May 28, 2013. Full enforcement authority takes effect on October 01, so the motoring public is expected to refrain from texting while driving from that date forward.
On 01 October 2013, Florida's cops will be authorized to enforce this law. However, since it is legislated as a "secondary offense", law enforcement officers must first establish a "primary offense" such as "Unlawful Speed" in order to investigate the offense of texting while driving.
Only commercial vehicles are subject to the ban-on-texting law as a primary offense. Truckers can be stopped by police if observed in violation of this law unto itself; no other violation is required.
Considered a weakness in its content, Florida cops are required to observe first-hand what they must articulate as texting while driving behavior as it relates to passenger cars.
If cited for a texting-while-driving violation, it equates to a non-moving violation and results in a $30.00 fine with no points for the first offense. For a subsequent offense, the fine doubles to $60.00. If stopped for a texting-while-driving offense, police can only ask for consent to search your phone for proof. Otherwise, a warrant is required by law.
The only exception to the accumulation of evidentiary materials (proof of texting while driving) is when a traffic crash resulting in injury and death occurs; police then have a right to secure evidence against you from your cell phone records in relation to traffic crash incidence/causal factors.
Further watering down the ban-on-texting law's basis is the inclusion in the language that a cell phone can still be used to plot in data on navigation apps, to answer a call, and to search/select music. Legislation allows activity for certain cell phone usage yet disallows texting. This law also allows any cell phone activity while a vehicle is stopped, whether it be at a red light or STOP sign.
Although similar in nature, plotting coordinates into a GPS device is still permissible. For police to discern the difference between a cell phone and a GPS device poses challenges; both are similar in size, shape and color.
Also in full effect on October 01, 2013 is a preexisting Florida traffic statute with amendment to it. That is to say, the previously outlawed activity of advancing beyond the white painted Stop Bar line at crosswalks is now permissible, as long as a discernible cessation of movement is observed before a complete right turn on red light is exhibited.
Also, drivers can now produce their auto insurance via electronic device instead of the traditional paper method previously ascribed. However, law enforcement officers are relegated to only view the auto insurance policy and nothing else while holding the motorist's device.