The state with the prettiest name, pt #2351

Better late than never, better toothless than gumless:

Florida drivers: Soon you’ll no longer be able to text and drive, but you and the guy in the next lane will be allowed to text if you’re stopped in traffic or at a red light.

A law signed Tuesday by Gov. Rick Scott bans manual texting and emailing while driving. The penalties are light, amounting to $30 plus court costs for a first offense and $60 for a second offense.

The ban goes into effect Oct. 1 and makes texting while driving a “secondary” offense, meaning a driver would have to be pulled over for some other violation, like careless driving, to get a texting ticket.

“It’s certainly not a cure-all, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction,” Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said. “It’s a hazardous, dangerous activity. Whether a vehicle’s going 60 or 65 mph on I-95 or 25 mph in a residential neighborhood, nobody wants a distracted driver behind the wheel.”

Unfortunately, Israel said, if law enforcement officers spot a driver who is texting and driving but not committing any other traffic violation, they still have no recourse.

“They have to see a primary offense or we’re going to let them continue,” Israel said. “And that’s the tough part about it, watching someone continue on their way.”

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