Everyone knows that distracted driving can have disastrous results. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving resulted in 3,166 traffic fatalities in 2017 alone. Texting is one of the most dangerous distractions as it takes a driver’s visual and cognitive focus off the road. As a result of the dangers presented by texting and driving, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill in May that toughens up Florida’s ban on texting and driving.
Under the new law, which goes into effect on July 1st, texting and driving will now be a primary offense. Texting and driving has been illegal in Florida for several years, however in the past, police could only pull someone over for texting while driving only if they were committing another traffic offense at the same time. Now, police will be able to pull over and ticket drivers even if texting and driving is their only offense.
The hope is that the new law will be a deterrent and keep drivers away from their phones. Drivers will still be allowed to text while their vehicles are stopped. If the culture changes under the new law, then hopefully people will put down their phones the same way they buckle their seatbelts.
Does the Law Go Far Enough?
Many people criticize the new law for not going far enough. Drivers in Florida are still legally allowed to engage in other distracting behaviors such as programming their navigation systems and talking on the phone while driving. The only exception is in school and work zones where drivers are not permitted to touch their phones except for emergencies. That portion of the law goes into effect on October 1stbut will not be fully enforced until January 1st.
In addition, the penalties for texting and driving are still not very harsh. For a first offense, a driver will have to pay a $30 fine plus court costs. For a second offense, a driver will have to pay $60 plus courts and receive three points on their driving record.
Contact a Florida Car Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in an accident with someone who was texting while driving, you should consult with an experienced car accident attorney. For over 30 years the attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have been helping Floridians injured in car accidents. Contact us online or call us at 800-753-5203 to set up your free consultation today.