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Texting, driving a primary offense as of July 1

By Staff | Jul 3, 2019

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is leading 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 and reminding everyone to never drive distracted.

In conjunction with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Sheriff’s Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association and AAA – The Auto Club Group, FLHSMV with its division of the Florida Highway Patrol advises all motorists that as of July 1, utilizing wireless communications while driving becomes a primary driving offense.

“Nothing is more heartbreaking than losing someone due to an act so preventable as distracted driving,” FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes said. “I am confident this law will save the lives of Floridians and visitors on our roadways and have a lasting positive impact on the future of highway safety in our state.”

As of July 1, Florida motorists can be stopped and cited for texting and driving. The first violation for drivers is a non-moving offense with no points assessed to the driver’s record. The second violation is a moving violation with three points assessed to the driver’s record. In most circumstances, FHP troopers will issue warnings for texting and driving through Dec. 31 to provide drivers with additional education of the new law. Exceptions would apply in extremely dangerous driving situations.

Starting Oct. 1, wireless communications devices can only be used in a hands-free manner when driving in a designated school crossing, school zone, or active work zone area. Drivers will be issued warnings through Dec. 31. Starting Jan. 1, drivers will be cited for using any wireless communication devices in a handheld manner in a work zone or school zone.

FLHSMV, along with FDOT, statewide law enforcement and other highway safety partners, will conduct the statewide Put It Down: Focus on Driving campaign to raise awareness of and encourage compliance with the Wireless Communications While Driving Law.

For more information, visit flhsmv.gov/focusondriving.