COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. – Officials say the goal is to educate and change behavior. So when drivers get into their cars, they put the phone away and they keep it away.
“This is not a gotcha moment,” said Sergeant Chris Gonzalez with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.
Sgt. Gonzalez said he and his colleagues will make sure distracted drivers know the rules.
“We’re going to be stopping motorists and letting them know, hey this is what we observed, we’re gonna give you a warning this time, but keep in mind its a non moving violation. And we’ll go through and educate them about the law,” said Sgt. Gonzalez.
The law makes texting and driving, and searching the Internet, a secondary offense. That means a driver would have to be pulled over for some other violation.
“I think everybody should take driving a little bit more seriously,” said Jessica Rang.
“Whether its eating a cheeseburger, driving with your knee, or texting, you just have to be 100% focused on what youre doing,” said Joe Rivera.
Joe Rivera teaches driving safety at the Golden Gate Traffic School. He said he’s been warning students about the upcoming law.
“But the kids still think that they’re bulletproof, and they don’t take driving as serious as they need to. So I bring up instances of kids, most recently a girl from Lehigh got killed on 75. A couple of years ago a kid from Palmetto Ridge was killed on Radio or Davis, around there. I try to make it real for them,” said Rivera.
There are exceptions to the new law. You can use your phone when your car is not moving. Sgt. Gonzalez said the total fine, including court costs is $113 and is considered a non-moving violation.