Starting today, drivers can be pulled over for holding a cell phone near schools and construction areas

click to enlarge Starting today, drivers can be pulled over for holding a cell phone near schools and construction areas
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Starting today, Oct. 1, Florida motorists can be stopped for holding a wireless device in a designated school crossing, school zone or active work zone.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the Florida Highway Patrol are advising drivers they are looking to make early examples of lawbreakers.

“Failing to pay attention in school zones, school crossings and active work zones can have devastating consequences,” said FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes in a statement. “Driving through these areas requires all of your attention and I implore motorists to pay attention to their surroundings and focus on driving.”

To inform as many motorists as possible, the state is joining with Florida police chiefs and sheriffs associations, and AAA, in a campaign called Florida’s Put It Down: Focus on Driving.

The campaign seeks to create greater overall mindfulness in drivers, urging them to curb three types of distracted driving: taking your eyes off the road, taking your hands off the wheel, or thinking about anything other than driving. The visual-manual-cognitive approach goes beyond texting and into a complete mindset.

“I want our children to be the safest as possible when going to and from school,” said Representative Jackie Toledo. “The hands-free aspect of this law will help 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.”
Drivers nabbed using a wireless communications device in a school crossing, school zone or active work zone will be issued warnings through Dec. 31. But on Jan. 1, 2020, drivers "will be cited for using any wireless communication devices in a handheld manner in these designated areas."

Since the Wireless Communications While Driving Law became effective on July 1, there have been 463 warnings issued by FHP for texting and driving through Sept. 24. From July 1 through Sept. 22, there have been 605 citations issued statewide by all law enforcement agencies for texting and driving.

You can follow the Florida’s Put It Down: Focus on Driving campaign on social media via the hashtags #PutItDown and #FocusOnDrivingFL.

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