Florida soon to enforce texting and driving ban
A new texting and driving ban is finally on the horizon for Florida, according to the Herald-Tribune. Texting, emailing, browsing the internet, or any other activity that involves typing will soon be a primary violation, as opposed to a secondary one. Previously, in order for drivers to be cited for texting and driving, they had to be stopped for another traffic violation.
If this law doesn’t get vetoed by July 1, when it is set to go into effect, police officers will be able to stop and cite drivers who are seen texting behind the wheel.
What the law prohibits
The law will also ban any kind of handheld device use when in the proximity of designated school crossing, school zones, or road work zones starting on October 1. Hands-free devices will be allowed.
Penalties for first-time violations of this law may include a $30 base fine, in addition to court fees. A second violation within five years of the first may result in a $60 base fine, in addition to court fees.
Drivers caught texting and driving may also get three points against their licenses.
The only exceptions apply when drivers are stopped at red lights and their cars are stationary. Additionally, texting and driving is not considered an offense when reporting an emergency or when being sent by emergency personnel.
Enforcing this law could be a challenge for police officers, particularly because they have to see the violation taking place while someone is driving. In addition, warrants aren’t readily available at traffic stops and drivers aren’t required to surrender their phones. Thus, proving that a driver was texting, as opposed to using a phone for something else, may be difficult.
How prevalent is distracted driving?
Distracted driving, particularly texting and driving, is responsible for many serious traffic crashes and road deaths across Florida. On a national scale, approximately 3,166 people lost their lives due to distracted driving crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
When traveling at a speed of 55 mph, drivers who look at their phones will likely travel the length of two football fields with their eyes off the road.
If you or a loved one was injured in a crash caused by a distracted driver, it’s important that you know your rights. An experienced car accident attorney at the Law Offices of Brent C. Miller, P.A. can help you get the compensation you deserve. Our team of litigators have a proven track record of representing injured motorists in Tavares and central Florida.
Don’t wait to get started. Contact us today to set up your free consultation.