New Florida Law Bans Handheld Use of Cell Phones in School Zones

Florida lawmakers joined the ranks of many other states in making it illegal to text and drive. Among the provisions included in this law, signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during the 2019 legislative session, are provisions which make it illegal to use handheld communication devices in school zones.

Lawmakers made this change to show that they consider distracted driving of any type a public safety hazard. The fact that school zones are completely free of any handheld device use shows that lawmakers consider these areas to be even more important when it comes to public safety, specifically the safety of children going to and from school.

To educate drivers about the importance of not texting and driving, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles launched the “Put It Down: Focus on Driving” campaign. They have also integrated a probationary period beginning October 1, 2019 lasting through the end of the year. If drivers are pulled over for violations of the new law, they will receive a warning. Starting January 2020, drivers who violate the law will receive a written citation, along with additional penalties.

With respect to handheld cell phone use in designated school zones and crossings, drivers will only be allowed to use hands-free devices when in these areas as of October 1, 2019.

If a driver is pulled over for using a handheld device after January 1, 2020, that person will be issued a citation. A violation will be considered a noncriminal traffic infraction but will be punishable as a moving violation. Penalties include a base $60 fine, court costs and fees, and three points assessed on the driver’s license.

The most dangerous time in a school zone is the after-school period from 3-4 p.m. This is when more children and teens are killed by motorists than at any other time of day, according to AAA.

Help Make Our Central Florida School Zones Safe for Everyone!

Despite warnings, communication and the best of intentions, accidents can still happen as a result of someone else’s negligence. At the personal injury law firm of Michael T. Gibson, P.A., we want you and your loved ones to have a safe return to school this year. Our Orlando personal injury attorneys are committed to helping children and families who have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence.

Whether you have been involved in a car accident, bicycle or pedestrian accident, it is important that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. Our experienced team of accident attorneys can help you obtain compensation for medical bills, future medical treatment, loss of wages, pain and suffering, etc. Feel free to fill out our quick contact form on our website to discuss your legal options in greater detail.

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