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NEW LAW: Hands Free Required, No Texting Allowed In School Zones

BOCA RATON, FL ( (Source: FLHSMV) — The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), with its division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), advises all motorists that beginning January 1, motorists can be stopped and cited for not operating a motor vehicle in a hands-free manner in a designated school crossing, school zone or active work zone area. Motorists can also be stopped and cited for using wireless communications devices while driving. FLHSMV, in conjunction with the Florida Department of Transportation, FloridaSheriff’s Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association and AAA – The Auto Club Group, is continuing Florida’s Put It Down: Focus on Driving campaign to ensure all motorists are aware of the state’s new regulations regarding wireless communications while driving.

“As a new year begins, I am proud to give law enforcement the ability to fully enforce the Wireless Communications While Driving law,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “All drivers should be completely focused on the road in order for everyone to arrive at their destinations safely.”

“I want all our drivers, children and workers to be as safe as possible on our roadways,” said Representative Jackie Toledo. “This law will continue to ensure that parents, teachers, children and crossing guards are always safe and those who work on our roadways are able to come home to their loved ones.”

“As the Wireless Communications While Driving Law goes into full effect, it is crucial for motorists to fully focus on driving,” said FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes.“Distracted driving crashes are preventable. Put your phone down so all of our road users can Arrive Alive.”

“The Florida Highway Patrol has been educating drivers on the Wireless Communications While Driving Law, and will begin issuing citations for texting and driving starting January 1, 2020,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Distracted driving significantly slows your reaction time and places you, your passengers, and others on the road in danger. Focus your attention on driving every time you get behind the wheel to eliminate dangerous and unnecessary crashes.”

“The enforcement of the recent legislation related to mobile devices while driving is a crucial step in providing a safe transportation system in the state of Florida,” said FloridaDepartment of Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, P.E. “It is essential that vehicles remain ‘distraction-free’ and that each of us commit to practicing good habits behind the wheel.”

“The Florida Police Chiefs Association encourages you to put your phone down and to keep your eyes on the road while driving,” said Police Chief Kenneth Albano, Temple Terrace Police Department and President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association. “Distracted driving has been found to be directly related to some of the most catastrophic vehicle crashes on our roadways. Don’t become a statistic, keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the steering wheel and your mind focused on driving safely.”

“Texting while driving is impaired driving and it is dangerous. Traffic crashes that result from texting while driving destroy lives and families, and these crashes are avoidable by simply “putting it down.” On behalf of our Florida sheriffs, I fully endorse and support the FloridaDepartment of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle’s Put It Down: Focus on Drivingcampaign,” said Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, President of the Florida Sheriffs Association.

“We appreciate the stricter law in work and school zones, but all motorists need to understand that hands free is not risk free,” said Matt Nasworthy, Florida Public Affairs Director, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “The safest way to drive, no matter where you are, is with your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel and your mind on the task of driving.”

Drivers using a wireless communications device in a school crossing, school zone or active work zone were only issued warnings through December 31, 2019. As of January 1, 2020, drivers will be cited for using any wireless communication devices in a handheld manner in these designated areas.



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