One of the most common questions we have been asked at our law firm is: Is texting while driving illegal in Florida? The answer is yes.
As of January 1, 2020, texting while driving in Florida was outlawed. This law applies to both reading and sending text messages. The law considered anyone using a phone to text while driving as being a distracted driver.
Distracted Driving Now Number One Cause Of Accidents
Distracted driving has become the leading cause of vehicular accidents nationwide. Most states have laws already in place for using handheld devices while driving, but that has not seemed to stop people from reading a text or trying to send one when they are behind the wheel.
Florida enacted the texting while driving law because texting is even more distracting than holding a phone to talk. When you read or write a text, you are distracted visually, physically, and mentally.
An example of why texting is so dangerous while driving is the 4-second rule. It takes approximately 4 seconds to open and read a text while you are driving. That may seem like nothing in the scope of time itself. However, a vehicle traveling at 55mph will move the length of an entire football field in 4 seconds. This is a very long distance not to be watching the road.
The largest group of people to text while driving is the age bracket of 20-29. Sadly, a 2017 study also shows that the largest age group of people seriously injured while driving was in the same bracket during that year.
Texting should wait until the car is parked. Period.
Penalties For Texting While Driving
If you are spotted in Florida texting while driving, the police have the right to make a traffic stop. If it is your first offense, you will be given a ticket for $30 and probably be lectured at by the police officer. If it is your second offense, you will receive a $60 fine and have 3 points placed against your license.
When points are put against your license, you will either be required to attend driving school again to have them removed or face higher insurance premiums from your car insurance provider. For those that use their car for work, this could place some strain on your employment position. Many employers will not let employees drive for their position with points on their licenses.
What Are The Exceptions To The No Texting Laws?
The Florida law for texting while driving does not have any exceptions to its texting laws. If you are caught texting while driving, you will be ticketed.
Other laws that apply to handheld devices in Florida require that you use a hands-free device at any time you are in a school zone or construction area. You can use your phone for directions and following a map, and you can pick it up to check emergency alerts such as weather or Amber alerts.
Distracted Driving and Accident Liability
If you are involved in an accident that was caused by distracted driving, you will be held liable for the accident. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may even be charged with reckless or distracted driving.
Distracted driving accidents can lead to serious injuries and possibly death. It is important that everyone follows the law and refrains from operating their vehicle without being distracted by their phone.
If you are behind the wheel, it is always in your best interest to ignore your phone or other handheld devices until you are safely stopped.
Speak With A Car Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in an accident that involved distracted driving, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries and losses. You have a limited amount of time to seek compensation after your accident, so it will be wise to speak with an accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident occurred.
Accidents resulting from distracted driving are a form of negligence. As the injured party, you have the right to make a claim for compensation for your injuries and your financial losses.
In the end, the most important thing to remember is that not only is texting and driving against the law in Florida, it is also one of the most dangerous things that you can do behind the wheel. Florida texting while driving laws are in place for a good reason. Avoid tragedy and refrain from texting and driving at all times.
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, the attorneys at Landau Law are here to help. Contact us today for a free case consultation.