Florida Texting and Driving Laws
We know how tempting it can be to pick up your phone and text your friends while you're driving. Doing so is a bad idea. Evidence continues to mount that distracted driving can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence. Perhaps the single biggest cause of distracted driving crashes: drivers using a cell phone while they're behind the wheel. In 2012, over 4,500 car crashes occurred as a result of a driver texting while driving. The Florida texting while driving law was enacted in 2013 as a way of reducing the number of injuries and deaths that result from distracted driving crashes. Here's what you need to know.
Florida's Texting While Driving Law: What It Means
The state of Florida prohibits drivers from texting while behind the wheel. The law states:
"A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data in such a device for the purpose of nonvoice interpersonal communication, including, but not limited to, communication methods known as texting, e-mailing, and instant messaging."
What that means, in everyday lingo: when you're driving you're not allowed to type and send messages, and you're not allowed to read messages that people send to you.
Penalties for Texting and Driving in Florida
In Florida, texting while driving is what's known as a secondary law. In other words, a police officer can't simply pull you over if he or she sees you texting while driving. But if that officer sees you commit any moving violation while you're texting and driving, that'll most definitely add to your woes, and may result in addition fines being added to your ticket. If you are the cause of a crash while texting and driving, that will add 6 points to the violation (on top of what you'd receive for the crash itself). Keep in mind too that stiffer traffic violations will also cause your insurance bills to go up.
It’s simply not worth the risk. Using a hands-free attachment is a great way to avoid the temptation of texts: keeping your phone out of easy reach will help you to keep you hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road, not on your phone's screen.