According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,166 people were killed in 2017 alone from distracted drivers. We’ve all seen those drivers on our streets here in South Florida, weaving in and out of traffic and driving dangerously while texting on the phone. Even though texting while driving has technically been illegal in Florida for several years, it has been difficult for police to enforce. Now, that all is changing with a new bill signed by Governor Ron DeSantis.
Here is what you need to know about Florida’s new texting and driving law:
What actions can get me a ticket?
Under this new law, drivers can be pulled over and given a ticket for texting while the car is in motion. This does not include using the phone while the car is stopped. Furthermore, drivers are allowed to use the phone to navigate, make phone calls, and read emergency messages.
However, it’s important to know that there is an exception is in school and construction zones where the use of a phone is 100% prohibited, including using navigation apps. While driving through school and construction zones, you will only be able to use your phone for emergency communications starting on October first.
What are the penalties for texting and driving?
For the first offense, a driver will be given a $30 fine plus court costs. The second offense will be a $60 fine plus court costs and three points on the license. Again, tickets given in school and construction zones carry a heavier penalty, and drivers will be penalized with points on their license for the first offense.
When does the law go into effect?
The new texting and driving law will go into effect on July 1, 2019, but police officers will be issuing warnings to drivers until the end of the year. As of January 1, 2020, drivers can be given a ticket for texting and driving behind the wheel.
Florida’s New Texting and Driving Law & Safer Streets
We hope that all drivers will take the new law seriously and stay off of their phones while behind the wheel. Distracted driving accidents can cause injury and death and are 100 percent avoidable. As parents and role models, we should be setting an example for our teen drivers by putting the phone away anytime we are in the car. Just as a seatbelt should always be used in the car, the new safety rule is to put away the phone unless there is an emergency.
If you are injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be able to file a personal injury claim depending on several factors, including the severity of your injuries. Contact us at Panter, Panter, and Sampedro to learn more about the strength of your claim. We can be reached at 305-662-6178.
Mower, L. (2019, May 17). Governor signs bill: Texting while driving will soon get you pulled over in Florida. Retrieved from https://miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article230519664.html
Andrew.firstname.lastname@example.org. (2019, May 08). U Drive. U Text. U Pay. Retrieved from https://nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving