Texting while driving ban begins tomorrow
WEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Officials are warning drivers to put away their cell phones before getting behind the wheel as the new texting while driving law goes into effect Tuesday.
"People are on their phones," said District 91 Representative Irving Slosberg. "They are texting. They are facebooking. They are checking in. They are checking out. It's a free-for-all out there."
The Florida Department of Transportation, the Florida Highway Patrol, AT&T and Rep. Slosberg held a news conference Monday morning about the new law, and they shared their frustrations toward the drivers who text behind the wheel. "Ladies and gentlemen, it is dangerous. It is costing lives," said FHP Trooper Joe Sanchez
At the conference, Sanchez said the ban on texting and driving is a secondary law, which means drivers will get ticketed for texting and driving after another law is violated. "Somebody speeding, taking a red light, following too closely, if I observe you texting and driving, not only do I write you a ticket for speeding, I could also write you a ticket under this new state law for the texting ban," said Sanchez.
Officials said people who text and drive are 23 times more likely to get into an accident, and everyday, nine people are killed nationwide and thousands are injured because of texting and driving.
To get the point across of how dangerous it is to text while driving, AT&T takes a video game-type simulator to schools across South Florida where students try to drive and text. "Every single student crashes," said an AT&T representative.
The idea behind the simulator is to get drivers to put down their cell phones and keep both hands on the wheel.
Drivers caught violating the law will be fined $30 for a first offense.
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