32963 Homepage

Want to purchase reprints of your favorite 32963 or photos?

Copies of Vero Beach 32963 can be obtained at the following locations:


Our office HQ: (located at 4855 North A1A)
1. Corey's Pharmacy
2. 7-Eleven

(South A1A)
3. Major Real Estate Offices


1. Vero Beach Book

2. Classic Car Wash
3. Divine Animal
4. Sunshine Furniture

5. Many Medical

New texting while driving law seen very difficult to enforce


A new Florida law that went into effect Monday allows police to pull over and issue citations to motorists they see texting and driving.

However, local law enforcement representatives say they don’t expect to write many tickets.

The reason?

Motorists stopped for texting and driving aren’t required to show police their phones, making it impossible for officers to confirm at the scene that an offense occurred.

“It’s a good law with good intent, but it’s going to be a tough law to enforce,” Vero Beach Police Department spokesman Darrell Rivers said. “We can pull them over, but without seeing their phones, we’re probably not going to issue citations. I doubt many drivers are going to let us look at their phones?”

Police could try to obtain warrants to compel motorists to hand over their phones, but local authorities say it’s unlikely such action would be taken – unless the drivers were involved in accidents resulting in substantial property damage, serious injury or death.

Barring those circumstances, most motorists pulled over locally for texting and driving can expect to get off with a warning, possibly only a verbal warning about the dangers of distracted driving.

“We haven’t sat down and mapped out exactly what we’re going to do yet, but if an officer sees a driver’s thumbs are going 100 mph on a keyboard, the vehicle is going to be stopped,” Indian River Shores Public Safety Director Rich Rosell said.

“The new law makes texting and driving a primary offense, so you can be pulled over just for that, and that’s what you’re going to see,” he added. “There’s no reason to be heavy-handed right out of the gate, but we’ll be looking for it, even if we start out giving warnings.

“We need to do something, because it’s a dangerous behavior and it’s much too prevalent.”

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, distracted driving was cited as the cause of nearly 50,000 of the state’s traffic accidents in 2016. Those wrecks resulted in 233 deaths.

Under the new law, police officers may stop motorists for texting and driving only when the suspects’ vehicles are in motion. Drivers are permitted to text while stopped at traffic lights.

However, police can stop and cite motorists for impeding the flow of traffic if their vehicles fail to promptly resume motion when the lights turn green because the drivers were distracted by their phones.

The law also allows drivers to hold their phones in their hands to talk while driving. Starting Oct. 1, however, drivers may not do so if they’re traveling through a school zone or a work zone when workers are present.

Drivers also may use their phones as GPS devices.

“Little by little, the Legislature is trying to solve the problem, and this is another baby step in the right direction,” Indian River County Sheriff’s Maj. Eric Flowers said. “Just knowing we can pull them over for texting and driving should wake people up, or at least make them more aware of the problem.

“Making seat belts mandatory saved lives,” he added. “When we stop texting and driving, that will save lives, too.”

Flowers said he hopes to see Florida follow the lead of other states that require hands-free use of phones while driving. In the meantime, he urged local motorists with newer smart phones to use the auto-reply notification system that tells the person calling or texting you that you’re driving and can’t respond at that time.

“Rather than relying solely on government,” Flowers said, “I’d prefer to see car and phone manufacturers come up with ways to address the problem.”