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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Ban on use of handheld mobile devices in school and work zones begins Tuesday

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods

A provision of a recent law banning texting and driving that targets school and work zone safety goes into effect on Tuesday, Oct. 1.

Motorists are being reminded that wireless communications devices – cell phones, tablets, laptops, messaging devices and electronic games – can now only be used in a hands-free manner while driving in a designated school crossing, school zone or active work zone area.

The law covers all hours of the day – 365 days a year – regardless of whether schools are in session or the school zone light is flashing or not.

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said his deputies are prepared to enforce the law and will be on the lookout for violators beginning Tuesday morning.

“Be hands-free so you can focus on your driving,” he said. “After all, it’s for the safety of our children and our workers.”

The law banning texting while driving, which includes the provision against using handheld devices in school and work zones, went into effect July 1 after being signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“This law makes Florida roads safer and I am proud to give law enforcement the ability to more proactively enforce safe driving,” he said. “Texting and driving is one of the most dangerous driving behaviors and it is every driver’s responsibility to help ensure we all get home safely.”

The first violation for drivers caught texting 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 and many other law enforcement officers are issuing warnings for the offenses through Dec. 31 to provide drivers with additional education of the new law. Exceptions obviously would apply in extremely dangerous driving situations.