School zones and construction zones are now officially hands-free areas in regard to texting and driving. Effective October 1, 2019, the second part of Florida’s new texting and driving law will kick in. Source.
Warnings, not tickets, will be issued to offenders during a buffer period, much like when the original texting ban went into effect. Since the initial law went into effect on July 1, 2019, 542 tickets have been written and more than 400 warnings have been issued. The slow rollout of the bill was intentional, according to Tampa Representative Jackie Toledo.
According to Toledo, officers were given the discretion to either ticket or not ticket, and educate and warn. January 1, 2020, is the date when penalties will go into effect for the hands-free portion of the law. Penalties include a $60 fine and three points added to a license. It should be noted the penalty for the initial ban is a $30 fine and zero points added to a license.
The hands-free portion of the texting ban goes into effect in school zones and construction zones because there are children and/or active workers in those areas, making them most vulnerable.
Drivers and law enforcement alike need to be aware of phase two of the texting ban. This law is being put into place to try and protect individuals from the dangers of distracted driving. For more articles like this one, visit the Beltz & Beltz blog section, where you can find information on how Florida’s laws affect you.
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