Orange County deputies issue dozens of hands-free citations in school, construction zones

Florida law: School zones, construction sites are hands-free; no cellphone use

Orange County Sheriff's Office deputies on a hands-free detail. (Image: OCSO) (WKMG 2020)

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County deputies conducted a “hands-free” enforcement operation Thursday, checking to see if drivers are following Florida’s new law that prohibits motorists from handling their phones in school and construction zones.

Deputies posted up on John Young Parkway between Princeton Street and Shader Road between 7 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and issued 22 citations to drivers using their phones in school zones.

At another location on Forest City Road at Edgewater Drive, deputies issued 12 citations for hands-free violations between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.

Officials with the Sheriff’s Office said they have more enforcement details planned in the future.

Prior to July, texting and driving was a secondary offense, meaning officers needed to have another reason to pull someone over.

In October, the hands-free portion of the law went into effect and drivers could be pulled over for using their devices in school and construction zones.

Beginning Jan. 1, drivers can be ticketed for handling their cellphones in school and construction zones, along with texting and driving.

There are exceptions to the rule. It’s OK to text if a vehicle is stopped at a red light and motorists can use a GPS device while driving.