TALLAHASSEE — As of Jan. 1, motorists in Florida can be stopped and cited for texting and driving while holding a wireless device in a designated school crossing, school zone or active work zone.

“As a new year begins, I am proud to give law enforcement the ability to fully enforce the Wireless Communications While Driving law,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis in a news release. “All drivers should be completely focused on the road in order for everyone to arrive at their destinations safely.”

The Florida Highway Patrol has been educating drivers on the Wireless Communications While Driving Law and began issuing citations for texting and driving starting Jan. 1, said Col. 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,” Spaulding said. “Focus your attention on driving every time you get behind the wheel to eliminate dangerous and unnecessary crashes.”

“We appreciate the stricter law in work and school zones, but all motorists need to understand that hands free is not risk free,” said Matt Nasworthy, Florida Public Affairs Director, AAA-The Auto Club Group. “The safest way to drive, no matter where you are, is with your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel and your mind on the task of driving.”

The Wireless Communications While Driving Law became effective July 1, 2019. From July 1 through Dec. 30 there were 1,087 warnings issued by the Florida Highway Patrol for texting and driving.

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