AAA issued a warning today about the upcoming Florida handheld cell phone ban going into effect October 1, 2019. As most of us are aware, using a cell phone while driving presents a real distraction. As of next Tuesday, Florida law enforcement officers can pull over and ticket drivers if found using a cell phone while driving in a designated school crossing, school zone, or active work zone area.
Florida Handheld Cell Phone Ban Details
The state has officers issuing warnings until January 1. After that, drivers who don’t use hands-free solutions could find themselves charged with a moving violation. So far, that looks like a minimum $60 fine and three points on their driver license before factoring in potential court costs.
“Floridians should not wait until 2020 to change their driving behavior. Cell phones create dangerous driver distractions in any situation. School and construction zones are especially volatile environments, and if you’re not paying attention bad things can happen fast. AAA urges all drivers to put their cell phones down and focus on the road.”
– Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group
AAA is careful to point out (and we agree) that hands-free cell phone use in a vehicle doesn’t make it inherently safe. AAA has done research on how drivers can be distracted by infotainment systems, GPS, radios, and other technological devices in the vehicle. Those distractions presented a real danger, with some numbers presenting scenarios where drivers traveled as much as 300 yards without their eyes fully focused on the road.
Hands-free Driving Doesn’t Solve the Problem
The new law could hopefully save lives, however, we also hope it doesn’t generate false confidence in hands-free systems. Drivers would do well to remember that any sort of distracted driving can lead to accidents or worse. This goes doubly for those engaged in commercial equipment operation or driving, where vehicles weigh more and payloads add additional complications to driving, reacting, and maneuvering.
Thoughts? Chime in below in the comments and let us know what you think. Learn more at the AAA website.