What Is the Status of Florida’s Texting and Driving Ban?February 28, 2020 | Category: Automobile Accidents | Share
Prior to January 1, 2020, officers were allowed to write citations for hands-free law enforcement. A grace period for using devices was given. Beginning January 1, drivers can be ticketed for handling their cell phones in school and construction zones and texting and driving. Even after the January 1 enactment of the hands-free portion of Florida’s Wireless Communications While Driving Law, distracted driving is still an issue.
Governor Ron DeSantis said in a news release, “As a new year begins, I am proud to give law enforcement the ability to fully enforce the Wireless Communications While Driving Law.”
“Distracted driving significantly slows your reaction time and places you, your passengers, and others on the road in danger,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, director of the Florida Highway Patrol.
Orange County deputies conducted a “hands-free” enforcement operation on Thursday, January 30, 2020. Deputies were checking drivers for following Florida’s new law that prohibits drivers from handling their phones in school districts or construction zones. Thirty-four citations were issued at two locations to drivers using their phones. The Sheriff’s Office intends to conduct more enforcement details in the future.
Florida’s texting and driving law is Statute 316.305 Wireless communications devices; prohibition. A portion of this law is provided below:
(3)(a) A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data on such a device for the purpose of non-voice interpersonal communication, including, but not limited to, communication methods known as texting, emailing, and instant messaging.
According to Statute 316.305, the penalty for first-time violators is $30 plus court costs. In school and work zones, the fee doubles to $60, plus court costs and three points added to the driver’s license.
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