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Police begin ticketing drivers for texting while driving

The warning period is over. Police officers are now giving out tickets to those caught texting while driving.
The warning period is over. Police officers are now giving out tickets to those caught texting while driving.

SWEETWATER, Fla. – The warning period is over. Police officers are now giving out tickets to those caught texting while driving.

Local 10 News was outside one school Wednesday as Sweetwater police officers conducted a texting and driving sting.

“Not only are we educating motorists on it, but we’re out here enforcing the law. It’s a very important law,” Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Alex Camacho said.

Police are especially cracking down on distracted drivers who are caught using their cellphones in a school zone.

“School zones, construction zones, have been designated hands-free zones. Meaning, not only can you not text on your phone, you cannot pick up that phone for a phone call, you cannot use your GPS,” Camacho said.

It was a lesson many drivers learned the hard way Wednesday as officers conducted their own traffic enforcement detail near Sweetwater Elementary School, enforcing the state’s new texting and driving ban which passed last year.

Initially, any driver caught in violation was issued a warning.

But starting Wednesday, they’ll be given tickets instead.

For parents like Sebastian Rios, who walks his son to school every day, the new law is long overdue.

“I think it’s a good thing,” he said. “You’re definitely trying to stop someone from not only hurting themselves, but others. Texting and driving could be just as dangerous as drinking and driving.”


About the Author:

Trent Kelly is an award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the Local 10 News team in June 2018. Trent is no stranger to Florida. Born in Tampa, he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he graduated with honors from the UF College of Journalism and Communications.