Law enforcement cracking down on texting and driving starting Jan. 1

Florida

TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) – Starting Jan. 1, law enforcement across Florida will start issuing citations for anyone who violates the texting and driving law.

The law makes texting and driving a primary offense, which means you can now get pulled over for that and that alone. The also makes active school and work zones areas that are hands-free, which mean you cannot use any device while driving through those zones.

This law went into effect on July 1, 2019. Since then, law enforcement has been using that time to educate and remind drivers of the law by giving out written warnings.

We checked with some agencies across the Bay area to see how many warnings were given out during the grace period.

Sarasota police issued 39 written warnings, Pinellas Park Police issued 49, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office issued 139 total warnings, and Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office issued 120 written warnings and 46 verbal warnings.

“It really will be up to the discretion of the deputy or officer if they give a ticket, but starting Jan. 1, you can get a $163 ticket and it assess 3 points on your license,” said Hillsborough County Deputy Donald Rizer.

The cost of the citation depends on where you get your ticket, as each county and city have different fees that may apply.

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