FOX 35 follows FHP as they pull over drivers for breaking new texting and driving law

FOX 35 News spent Thursday afternoon with the Florida Highway Patrol as they pulled drivers over for breaking the new texting and driving law.

The newest part of the law took effect on New Year's Day, making it illegal for drivers to use or hold a handheld device in school and construction zones.

Trooper Blake Carpenter hit the road, looking for drivers on their phones near some of Central Florida's worst construction zones. Within 45 minutes on Interstate 4, Trooper Carpenter pulled someone over.

"Try to get a hands-free device, okay? Because you can actually get a ticket for it, ok? And it will put three points on your license."

The driver was talking on the phone while driving by construction. "She had the cell phone right in her left ear. She started even weaving in and out of line a little bit," said Trooper Carpenter.

Now you can get a ticket for just holding a phone in an active school or construction zone. But because it's so new "some people just honestly do not know." Trooper Carpenter let the driver off with a warning. 

Twenty minutes later, he pulled over someone else.

"The reason why I’m pulling you over today, you were texting and driving active in a construction zone."

The man in the car admitted right away to using his phone.

"I was looking at my GPS trying to make it to somewhere I don’t know how to get to. I just moved from South Carolina so I don't know where I’m going," said Michael Chappel, who lives in Apopka.

He says he knows now that's no excuse.

"I need to get something for my dash to set my phone on."

Once again, the driver got a warning. 

FOX 35 News asked Trooper Carpenter what's the point of the law if it's not enforced.

"We’re not out here to always write tickets. We’re out there to educate the public so we can actually stop crashes. Sometimes education goes a lot further than a dollar amount for a fine."

He hopes however it's enforced goes far enough to save lives on the road.

FHP also says Airpods and headphones are hands-free devices, but you can only use one at a time so the other ear can hear sirens or horns around you.