Florida’s New Texting and Driving Law: What You Need to Know

Put down that phone! Starting in July, texting and driving will be a primary offense in Florida. Here’s all you need to know about the new law.

What does the new law say?

The new law, HB, states that police officers will be able to pull over a driver just for texting. Previously, officers had to have another reason, like speeding or a broken taillight, to pull someone over. If a driver is caught texting and driving, they could face a $30 fine for the first offense and $60 for the second. They will face further punishments if they continue with their reckless driving behavior after the second offense.

Can I still use my phone in the car?

There are no Florida laws that prohibit a driver from talking on the phone in the car. However, it is still recommended that drivers avoid using their phone at all. HB focuses on texting, and does not apply to drivers using a navigation device, like a GPS, or driver whose vehicle is stationary. This means that if you want to glance at your phone while at a complete stop at a red light, you still can. But remember, whenever you’re on the roads, it’s important to be alert at all times, even when you’re stopped!

What are the dangers of texting and driving?

In the United States, texting and driving results in 1.6 million car accidents every year. Additionally, 1 out of every 4 accidents is caused by a texting driver. This is because when a driver looks away from the road, they can travel the length of a football field in five seconds without paying attention to obstacles, like a stopped car in front of them.

How can I avoid getting pulled over?

To avoid getting pulled over, the answer is simple—don’t text and drive! Keep your phone in the backseat to avoid temptation, or put it on vibrate.  If you have to send a text, pull over to a safe spot, like a nearby parking lot.

If you have a teen driver in your home, HB is also a great time to start a discussion about safe driving. Teens are one of the most likely groups to text and drive, and 10% of all fatal accidents involving teens are caused by distracted driving. The new law is the perfect time to talk to your teen driver about their habits behind the wheel. And of course, remember to always set a good example?

What do you think about this new law?

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The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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