Hands Free In Florida School Zones
Starting today, October 1, it will be illegal in Florida to even hold your cell phone while driving through a school zone. This new ban is an expansion of the July 1 law making texting while driving a primary offense—meaning, police officers can pull you over for texting behind the wheel.
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Tickets for holding your phone in a school zone will start to be issued January 1, 2020, giving Florida drivers a few months of a grace period to learn the new rules. The ticket will be a moving violation with three points assessed against your driver’s license. Fines will vary by county.
Since a new law enacted July 1 made texting while driving a primary offense, there have been 605 tickets issues and 463 warnings.
"You can’t have the phone in your hand at all,” Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Derrick Rahming said. "The only thing you can do is talk on a hands-free device. If you are holding a phone or any kind of device, you will be stopped, and you will be issued a warning.”
Another clarification: If you come up to a crosswalk attended by a school crossing guard, those areas are also considered school zones. You have to put down your phone.
"We don’t want to see another child hurt… because someone was on their phone,” said Lt. Kim Montes of the Florida Highway Patrol.
Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving. In 2018 alone, there were 52,000 distracted crashes in Florida and 233 deaths.
The hands-free law also pertains to active construction zones.