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It is official, texting while driving in Florida has become illegal. In May during an event in Sarasota Governor Ron DeSantis signed bill HB 107. This new piece of legislation has made using your phone while driving in the state of Florida a primary offense. In addition, the law also designates school zones and active work zones as hands-free areas only, which means you are not allowed to pick up any device while you are operating a vehicle in those areas.

However, it does not allow law enforcement to confiscate any wireless devices from your possession without obtaining a warrant. The Florida House voted to pass this bill by a vote of 108 to 7. The reason DeSantis has decided to sign this new bill was that in 2016, Florida had close to 50,000 accidents that were related to texting while driving or distracted driving. There were 233 deaths because of those accidents.

With the current Florida, law drivers can only get a citation for texting or using their phone while they are driving if they are being pulled over for another reason, but they cannot be pulled over just for using their phone. However, this will all change under the new law. Police officers now don’t need to see you weave, speed, or any other traffic violation they can simply pull you over for being on your phone. This new bill goes into effect on July 1, 2019. However, the fines associated with the hands-free part of the law for work and school zones doesn’t take effect until January 1, 2020.

The amount for the penalties will remain the same, which are $30 for a first offense and a $60 fine for the second along with three points being added to your license. Officers do have the right to issue a warning at first instead of immediately giving you a fine. The texting ban doesn’t apply to any drivers who are using a navigation system or device or if your car is stationary or parked.

Before hitting the road and reaching for your phone, there are a few things that you should know.

If you or your loved one have been injured in an accident, now is the right time to seek help. Contact Pam Olsen today at (352) 671-9777. Or if you prefer, Schedule a Consultation with Pam Olsen, Esq.

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