New portion of Florida's texting and driving law goes into effect Tuesday

Posted at 11:04 AM, Sep 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-30 18:39:47-04

Drivers -- starting on Tuesday, you'll have to put down your cellphones at school crossings, school zones, and active work zones across Florida.

A new portion of Florida's ban on texting and driving goes into effect on Oct. 1.

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Under the new part of the law, the handheld use of cellphones, tablets, laptops, and electronic games is illegal if you're driving through a school crossing, school zone, or active work zone where workers are present and visible.

"You can’t be holding the device which really gives us a lot more," said Sgt. Brian Bossio with the Stuart Police Department. "We can prove by our observation that they were using their phone and holding their phone, which is different than the actual texting statutes."

From Oct. 1 through the end of the year, police will pull drivers over and issue them warnings about the new law. However, tickets won't be written until Jan. 1, 2020.

"There’s no fines associated with warnings," said Sgt. Bossio. "It's just an educational piece at this point .”

The first violation will cost $30, plus other court and associated fees.

The only exceptions to the hands-free law will be if you're using your device to report an emergency, using your phone's navigation system, or checking emergency, traffic, or weather alerts.

To read more details about Florida's texting and driving ban, click here.