Florida’s Distracted Driving Laws
When we drive, we need to fully focus on the road. Taking our eyes off the road to change the radio station, taking our hands off the wheel to text a friend and taking our minds off the act of driving to daydream about an upcoming vacation are all dangerous acts that can lead to serious car accidents.
When you’re not focused on the road, you’re less able to stop in the event of an emergency. You must have time to see a hazard, react and stop. It is hard to complete all these actions when your eyes, hands or mind is somewhere else. This is why you need to stay focused and eliminate distractions.
Distracted driving is so dangerous that most states have even made it illegal to some extent. Florida is one of those states. In July 2019, the state passed Florida Statutes, Section 316.305. This law, also called the Put It Down: Focus on Driving campaign, requires drivers to put down their phones and other electronic devices while driving.
Under the law, a person is not legally allowed to operate a motor vehicle while typing numbers, letters or symbols into a wireless communications device for the purpose of sending a text, instant message or email. A police officer is allowed to pull over and issue a citation to any motorist caught texting while driving. The second part of the law, which went into effect October 1, 2019, prohibits the use of a wireless communications devices in a handheld manner while driving in a construction or school zone. A driver would be given a warning. As of January 1, 2020, drivers who do not follow this law are given citations.
A wireless communications device is defined as a handheld device that allows text communications. This includes a cell phone, laptop, tablet or an electronic game. There are some exceptions to the law. A driver may use their device while driving if they are reporting an emergency or crime. They can also use their device if they are operating it hands-free or in a voice-activated mode. A driver can also use their device if their vehicle is parked or in autonomous mode.
The penalties for a first offense is a non-moving traffic violation with a $30 fine. A second offense within five years is considered a moving traffic violation, with the fine doubling to $60. The driver will also get 3 points assessed against their license. The fines for each of these offenses do not include court costs and other fees.
Get Legal Help for Your Florida Car Accident Case
Distracted driving can lead to serious car crashes. Thousands of people die from distracted driving every year. If you or a loved one has been affected, seek legal help right away.
The Tampa car accident lawyers at Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group can help you with your car accident case. We can get you the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call 813-242-4404 or fill out the online form.