Texting while driving is illegal in Florida starting October 1st. The Florida bill makes texting while driving a secondary violation, which means a motorist would have to commit another offense, such as careless driving, speeding, red-light or stop related offenses, in order to be pulled over. Once stopped, a driver can receive two tickets, one for the first offense and the second for texting while driving.
The financial penalty will be $30 for a first-time texting while driving offense. If the driver is ticketed a second time within five years, the penalty will be a moving violation and, if involved in an accident, law enforcement can pull the driver’s phone records and six points will be added to the driver’s license.
While texting when driving is a traffic violation, you should also avoid it because it can lead to much more significant traffic incidents and accidents. Our Fort Lauderdale traffic ticket defense team recommends you to always drive safely and avoid traffic violations, such as reckless driving and failure to use due care.
Recent studies have also shown that consequences of distracted driving can be as profound as drunk driving. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Fatality Facts reports that on average, 11 teenagers a day are killed in crashes as a result of distracted driving in the U.S.
According to CBS Miami, there were 256,443 reported crashes in Florida in 2012. In 4,841 of those crashes, a driver had been texting or otherwise using an “electronic communication device” while driving, according to a preliminary report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Currently, thirty-nine other states prohibit texting while driving and six have partial bans. Another bill approved by legislators makes it a primary offense for drivers of commercial motor vehicles involved in interstate commerce from talking or texting on hand-held phones while driving.
As a criminal defense attorney, we recommend to drive carefully and safely, and ask for specialized and experienced legal advice from a criminal defense lawyer anytime you get involved in a traffic incident and are accused of a traffic violation.