Florida drivers should be aware that a new law prohibiting texting while driving took effect Oct. 1, 2013. It’s a secondary offense, therefore, a law enforcement officer can’t pull a driver over for texting but can issue a citation if the driver is pulled over for speeding or another offense.

According to Florida Today in Brevard County, the Florida Highway Patrol investigated nearly 5,000 crashes that involved distracted drivers. Already this year it has looked into more crashes involving drivers using phones: There have been 488 such crashes this so far this year compared to 445 in 2012.

Florida joins 41 states where texting while driving is illegal. It’s the fourth, along with Nebraska, Ohio and Iowa, where texting is a secondary offense.

The law states that people cannot manually type in text messages or emails while driving, although it is not prohibited at stoplights. Read more about the law.

The Florida Department of Transportation provides some information on a distracted drivers program.

At Bernardo Injury Law, we are concerned about your safety. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, contact us at (239) 332-3000 or email us at gethelp@injuryinfo.org.