Let us preface this blog before we begin. It's obviously not a good idea to text and drive. Nevertheless, it's also not a good idea to be unaware of how this new law applies to us. The new Florida driving law, called "Wireless Communications While Driving", started January 1st, 2020. What does it mean? How will it be enforced? When is this law applied? As your local pompano beach and palm beach auto tag agency, we're here to help you figure out exactly what the law means and how it will be enforced when you're driving. Your safety is our priority, and we know those traffic tickets can add up.
When Cell Phone Use Can Be Enforced
This law applies to both TEXTING and CALLING. So if you have your phone by your ear or if you have it in your hand, you may be eligible for a ticket.
Where Cell Phone Use Can Be Ticketed
This law can only be enforced at designated school crossings, school zones, and active work zones. While the school zones are pretty easy to avoid, the long stretches of I-95 that are randomly under construction will be more difficult. If you see a road work sign, it's a fair bet that there will be more law enforcement in the area, and you don't want to compound a "speeding in a work zone" ticket with a "calling while driving" ticket. That's a two-fer that nobody wants.
Will They Give Me a Warning?
Not anymore. The "warning period" officially ended on Jan 1st, 2020, so citations will be issued en masse.
What Kind of Fine Am I Looking At?
This part's confusing, per the court system. While the fine for a first time offender is only $30 on the ticket itself, Florida Today reports that court fees and jurisdictional costs can inflate that ticket to over $100. Be wary, folks.
Notes on Staying Safe and Legal
Legality applies to enforcement as much as it does your behavior. If you get pulled over for TWD outside of a work or school zone, and you were not within that zone when you were using your phone, take pictures and make note of what the officer reportedly saw. Don't fight the officer though. You'll have to take it to court. Having photograph evidence of where you were pulled over, and paying attention to the date and time as well as reports of the work zone, will help you present an intelligent and polite case in court.
You can read the press release below. Contact us if you have any information to add! We're not lawyers - this is for informative purposes only, so we encourage you to do your own research.
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Photo credit: Bruce Mars
~ Starting January 1, 2020, motorists in Florida can be stopped and cited for texting and driving and holding a wireless device in a designated school crossing, school zone, or active work zone. ~
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – 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. 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...
Read the full press release here>>