Question from Gables Insider Reader:
How we can expect the new Wireless Communication While Driving Law (Texting While Driving Law) that took effect yesterday, July 1, 2019, to be enforced by Coral Gables Police?
Coral Gables Police Department Response:
The law goes into effect July 1, 2019. On this date motorists may be stopped and cited by a law enforcement officer for texting and driving.
The first offense is a non-moving traffic violation (no points) with a base fine of $30.00 (not including court costs and other fees).
The second and subsequent offenses within 5 years are a moving traffic violation (3 points on your license) with a base fine of $60.00 (not including court costs and other fees).
For the moving violations, drivers can elect to go to driver improvement school, if they meet all the requirements to have the points removed.
Starting October 1st, 2019 wireless communications devices can only be used in a hands-free manner when driving in a designated school crossing, school zone or active work zone.
Law enforcement officers can stop motorists if they see drivers with the wireless device in their hands in the areas listed in bold.
Only warnings can be issued from October 1st- December 31st, 2019. Citations can then be issued on January 1, 2020.
Violators of this law commit a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation, with a base fine of $60.00 (not including court costs and other fees) and will have 3 points assessed on the driver license.
· For a first offense, a person who violates this section may elect to participate in a wireless communications device driving safety program to have the points removed.
· The clerk of the court may dismiss a case and assess court costs for a for a traffic violation for a person who is cited for a first-time violation, if the person shows the clerk proof of purchase equipment that enables the device to be used in a hands-free manner. (check with each clerk of court to see if they will be doing this)
From July 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019, police officers from the Coral Gables Police Department will be issuing warnings for texting and driving as a primary offense.