TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFTV) -- A new law that goes into effect on Tuesday will ban texting behind the wheel and Florida drivers could face a fine if they're caught.
Governor Rick Scott signed the bill into law earlier in 2013, making Florida the 41st state to ban texting or emailing while driving.
But the new law says a law enforcement officer cannot stop a driver for just texting because it's a secondary offense. A driver would have to be pulled over for something else first, such as speeding or a seat belt violation.
After five years of defeat by House Republicans, supporters of the law applaud the ban as the first critical step toward makings roads safer.
Several critics of the bill complain that the law is watered down. Scott even vetoed $1 million in the state budget for a marketing campaign to explain the new law. Instead, drivers will be alerted to the change through electronic road signs.
The first violation of texting while driving results in a $30 fine. If the distracted driving leads to a crash, authorities can now use cell phone records to determine if the phone was being used.
Although the law bans texting, Florida's 14 million drivers can still use their phones for navigation, listening to music and activating voice commands.
According to state statistics, texting while driving led to nearly 200 crashes in 2012. Supporters of the law hope to drive that number down drastically.