Texting while driving becomes primary offense in Florida on July 1

FLORIDA — Florida drivers, beware: As of July 1, officers can pull you over for texting and driving.

MORE: New Florida law makes texting while driving primary offense starting on Monday

Clay County Deputy Drew Ford said, “What you want folks to do is keep their eyes on the road and stay focused.”

And he said, too often that’s not what drivers are doing.


Instead, they’re distracted by electronics, especially cellphones.

“Usually, it’s down by their lap and  they’re looking down, looking down, looking down and their eyes aren’t on the road. You don’t know what’s going on around you at that point,” Ford said.

Action News Jax told you in May when Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that changed texting and driving from a secondary offense to a primary offense.

That means an officer can pull you over for texting without any other violation.

On Friday, Action News Jax’s Beth Rousseau rode along with Deputy Ford to see the indicators officers are looking for.

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“If you happen to be behind them and you see a head down like this, just pointed downward, and you’re like, 'Man, their head is down for a long period of time.' You may see that they’re drifting or doing the constant braking,” said Ford.

Under the law, drivers can’t use hand-held wireless devices in school zones and construction zones.

Ford admitted that sometimes, distracted driving is hard to spot.

“There are so many distraction and cellphones are just one piece,” he said.

Law enforcement officers will only be giving out warnings until January.