What Florida Motorists Need to Know About Florida’s New Texting and Driving Law
Who doesn’t see a benefit in texting? Regardless of whether it’s your preferred method of communication, most people can likely agree that texting can be an extremely effective and efficient way to quickly deliver a message. The convenience associated with texting is likely the main reason for its popularity. However, this behavior has trickled into the driver’s seat of cars and caused serious consequences. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, over 3,000 people died from distracted driving such as texting in 2017 alone.
In response to statistics like these, the state of Florida introduced a new texting and driving law at the beginning of last month. This is what you need to know about the new law.
What is the Difference Between the New Law and the Old One?
Texting while driving has been illegal in Florida for years, but the existing law was largely ineffective. As of July 1, 2019, texting while driving is now a primary offense here in the Sunshine State. Historically under Florida law, one could only be cited for texting as a secondary offense, meaning the citation was concurrent with another offense like speeding or running a red light. Because officers were not able to pull drivers over and cite them unless they committed another traffic violation, few motorists were actually cited under the old law. Now, however, you can be pulled over by law enforcement and fined simply for texting and driving. And importantly – while the Department of Motor Vehicles has reported that in most cases drivers will simply be issued warnings through the end of the year, Florida Highway Patrol is already citing drivers who place themselves and others in extremely dangerous situations.
What Are the Penalties for Texting and Driving in Florida?
Under the new law, a first texting offense is punishable by a $30 fine and court fees. A second offense carries a $60 fine, court costs and related fees, and three points on a driver’s license. A first offense involving texting in a school zone or construction zone also carries additional license points. And most significantly, texting that results in an accident carries an additional six points on top of other penalties incurred.
Have You or a Loved One Been Injured in a Car Accident Because a Driver Was Texting?
As a firm that represents many injured car accident victims and their families here in the Sunshine State, we applaud all efforts behind the passing of Florida’s new texting law. We are also hopeful that over time, this new law will help curb what has become a dangerous driving habit for many people both here in Florida and throughout the rest of the country. However, we are also aware of the fact that people willingly break laws while driving every day despite knowing that there are potential consequences. Realistically, some negligent motorists will continue to choose distractions over their obligations to safely operate their vehicles, and this means that accidents will continue to happen because of texting and driving. As the Miami personal injury attorneys at The Pendas Law Firm, we understand the tragic consequences that can result when someone chooses to place others around them at risk, and we are here to fight for victims of others’ negligence. Contact us for help today.
The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Orlando, Tampa, Bradenton, Fort Myers, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Ocala and Daytona Beach areas.