ORLANDO, Fla. - There are less than two weeks until the new year, and as much as you'd like to text your bestie how excited you are, make sure you aren't driving when you send that smiley face emoji.
Starting Jan. 1, you are more likely to be ticketed for texting while driving in Florida.
The law officially went into effect on July 1, but law enforcement has been using the past 6 months as a grace period.
A ticket for texting while driving in Florida will cost $30. If you’re caught violating the hands-free law, you will be ticketed $60 and have three points added to your license.
A first offense for driving while texting will be punishable by a $30 fine, with a second offense costing $60.
Orange County Sheriff John Mina believes that it should be pretty simple for officers to figure out who is breaking this new law. "We've all seen them, driving five or ten miles per hour slower than everyone else, distracted by texting and driving. We think it's going to be fairly easy for law enforcement to spot that and cite the drivers," he said.
Hands-free uses of your phone, like talking on speaker phone are still permitted unless you are in a school or construction zones.
Florida is one of the last states to making texting while driving a primary traffic violation.