Florida Law Banning Cellphones While Driving in School, Construction Zones Takes Effect

Better keep your hands off that cellphone if you are driving near a school or through a construction zone in Florida.

As of Tuesday, it is against the law to hold a cellphone while driving in those places.

Florida earlier this year outlawed texting while behind the wheel, but the new law didn’t ban all hand-held use of phones while driving outside of school and construction zones, including scrolling through news feeds or holding a phone to an ear.

Police can begin pulling over motorists Tuesday, but they won’t start issuing tickets until Jan. 1.

Florida is one of 48 states that currently ban all drivers from texting while driving, but the National Conference of State Legislatures says only 20 states prohibit all hand-held use of cellphones while behind the wheel.

Distracted driving claimed 3,166 lives in 2017, according to the latest statistics from the federal government. Of those, 434 were shown to be linked to cellphone use.

The law that went into effect Tuesday is a stripped-down version of what was initially proposed – a ban on all hand-held use of phones while driving. One of the lead sponsors, State Rep. Emily Slosberg, who lost her twin sister to a traffic accident in 1996, has focused her legislative agenda on tightening Florida’s traffic safety laws.