Texting and driving laws in Florida
Distracted driving is a serious hazard for both the driver and all on the road around them. A common source of distraction is the cell phone. It is estimated that a quarter of all accidents are caused by cellphone use, either while the driver was texting, making a phone call, checking social media or in some other way focusing on the device. As such, Florida has instituted legislation called the “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law.”
Under this 2014 law, the only way drivers may use their phone while they are driving is to make a phone call. This excludes sending or reading texts, emails, instant messages or any other form of non-verbal communication. The law applies to all vehicles that are in motion and therefore in operation.
There are exceptions to this law. If you are receiving messages related to emergency situations, weather reports or traffic reports, you may check the message when it is safe to do so. You may also use nonverbal hotlines to report emergencies or criminal activity to law enforcement agencies. Also, using your phone as a GPS does not count as distracted driving.
If you are caught texting and driving, you will be charged with a noncriminal traffic infraction. In addition, if you cause a car accident, the courts may pull your phone records to prove whether or not you were illegally using your phone at the time.
If you were in an accident caused by a distracted driver, an experienced attorney may be able to help you claim compensation.