Using your phone while driving is quickly becoming a thing of the past. While it seems convenient and easy to do, distracted driving contributes to thousands of crashes every year, leading to serious bodily injuries and even fatalities. In fact, a study in 2017 using data from the EverDrive motion-sensing app found that Florida is the second worst state in terms of driving while distracted, beat out only by Louisiana. Earlier this year, a house bill authorizing police officers to pull over drivers for using cell phones while driving made the news. While the bill stalled and was ultimately postponed, it’s important to know more about Florida distracted driving laws.
What are Florida Distracted Driving Laws?
Distracted driving involves any activity that takes your mind off driving, your eyes off the road, or your hands off the wheel. Naturally, these driving distractions can be incredibly dangerous, especially in speedy traffic. Texting is one of the most dangerous types of distracted driving activities because it involves visual, manual, and cognitive distraction.
Other types of distraction, which may be harder to spot, include reading billboards, adjusting the stereo, putting on makeup, and talking on the phone. Each year, car models are coming up with better in-car technologies
Florida is one of only five states where drivers can’t be pulled over specifically for texting while driving because it only counted as a secondary offense. According to the Florida distracted driving law, police can only pull over a driver for primary offenses. This means that you can only get ticketed for distracted driving if you were also pulled over for another offense.
What Does the Florida Distracted Driving Law Mean?
When it comes to distracted driving, Florida Statute 316.305 or “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law” is currently in effect. The section says that a person can’t operate or drive a motor vehicle while manually typing into a device or while sending or reading data for non-voice interpersonal communication. Using a hands-free component such as Bluetooth to receive or make calls does not count as texting while driving.
In the event of a crash resulting in personal injury or death, admissible evidence can include the user’s billing records for the device or the testimony of those receiving such messages.
Violation of this ban constitutes a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation. Additional fines will be added to your ticket. It can cost you $100 to $200 in ticket fines. If you texted while driving and then caused a collision, 6 points will be added to the points received for the crash itself.
A second violation within five years of the first violation constitutes a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation. As mentioned before, enforcement of this ban is only done as a secondary action.
Penalties for a moving violation may include:
- Civil penalty fees
- 120 hours of community service (if texting while driving resulted in the death of another individual)
- Citation and need to appear before an official
- Need to enroll in an improvement school
Aside from the traffic infraction, you may also face a comparative negligence case in the event of an accident. Each party is assigned a percentage of the fault with the corresponding compensation. Lastly, stiffer traffic violation will make it more difficult to deal with insurance.
Why You Need a Florida Defense Attorney
If you have been involved in a distracted driving accident, or if you are facing a big penalty, you need a defense attorney to protect your rights and interests. You need to defend yourself against ungrounded claims for compensation due to accident damage.
The defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael A. Gottlieb P.A. are among Florida’s most successful criminal lawyers. The team of top criminal defense attorneys is sure to set your affairs in order. If you are facing a distracted driving case and you need legal assistance, call them at 1-954-462-1005 for a free consultation!