Motorists can also be stopped and cited for using wireless communications devices while driving. FLHSMV, in conjunction with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Sheriff’s Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association and AAA – The Auto Club Group, is continuing Florida’s Put It Down: Focus on Driving campaign to ensure all motorists are aware of the state’s new regulations regarding wireless communications while driving.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), with its division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), advises all motorists that beginning January 1, motorists can be stopped and cited for not operating a motor vehicle in a hands-free manner in a designated school crossing, school zone or active work zone area.
“The Florida Highway Patrol has been educating drivers on the Wireless Communications While Driving Law, and will begin issuing citations for texting and driving starting January 1, 2020,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Distracted driving significantly slows your reaction time and places you, your passengers, and others on the road in danger. Focus your attention on driving every time you get behind the wheel to eliminate dangerous and unnecessary crashes.”
Drivers using a wireless communications device in a school crossing, school zone or active work zone were only issued warnings through December 31, 2019. As of January 1, 2020, drivers will be cited for using any wireless communication devices in a handheld manner in these designated areas.
The Wireless Communications While Driving Law became effective July 1, 2019. From July 1 through December 30, 2019, there have been 1,087 warnings issued by Florida Highway Patrol for texting and driving. From July 1 through December 29, 2019, there have been 1,220 citations issued statewide by all law enforcement agencies for texting and driving. FLHSMV has released educational tear sheets to law enforcement agencies statewide to help disseminate messaging about the campaign.
The statewide Put It Down: Focus on Driving campaign aims to raise awareness of and encourage compliance with the Wireless Communications While Driving Law. You can follow the campaign on social media with the hashtags #PutItDown and #FocusOnDrivingFL. The campaign media kit can be found at flhsmv.gov/focusondriving.