Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida has signed legislation into law that makes texting behind the wheel a primary traffic offense, reports the Associated Press.
Under the current law, law enforcement can only write a citation for texting after they've pulled over a driver for another offense, which officials say is nearly impossible to enforce.
The May 17 move by DeSantis leaves just a handful of states — Ohio, Nebraska, and South Dakota — with laws that categorize texting while driving as a secondary offense. Missouri prohibits texting for motorists under 21, while Montana has no ban at all on texting while driving.
The new Florida law, which goes into effect July 1, gives officers the right to stop drivers simply for texting. The measure also prohibits the use of handheld wireless communications devices in school and construction work zones, reports AP.
However, the texting ban does not prohibit drivers from using a navigation system while operating their vehicle or from texting when the vehicle is stopped.
Penalties under the new law include a $30 fine for a first-time violation and a $60 fee for subsequent offenses coupled with court fees and points added to the driver's license, according to the report.