What You Need to Know About the Texting and Driving Ban in Florida

You've probably heard at least one story of someone who was injured or killed by a driver who was texting and driving. You may have even seen the somewhat graphic public service announcement (PSA) from the UK that shows the deadly results of texting while driving. Although we all know how dangerous texting while driving can be, many people still do it. In fact, in a survey by AT&T, over 90 percent of drivers know that texting while driving is dangerous but still do it anyway.

In 2013, the State of Florida enacted a ban on texting while driving. The need for such legislation is evident given some of the traffic statistics from the Florida Highway Patrol. In 2012, the FHP investigated 530 crashes in Lee County related to distracted driving. Additionally, texting while driving causes about 1.6 million crashes per year, according to the National Safety Council.

About the Law

On October 1, 2013, the State of Florida enacted a ban on texting while driving. The Ban on Texting While Driving Law" was passed by the Legislature in 2012, making Florida the 41st state to enact a texting while driving law.

The law states: "A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data in such a device for the purpose of nonvoice interpersonal communication, including, but not limited to, communication methods known as texting, emailing, and instant messaging."

The law makes texting while driving a secondary offense meaning texting alone won't get you pulled over. Instead, you have to be in violation of another law first, such as speeding or running a red light. Additionally, there are still some things you can do on your phone. For example, you can still use your phone for music, navigation or to answer a phone call. The law also states that you can still text or send an email when you're stopped at a red light.

Dangers of Texting and Driving

Although teens and young adults are more likely to text while behind the wheel, people of all ages admit to using their phones while driving. According to the Ad Council, 1 in 5 drivers of all ages confesses to surfing the web while driving. Additionally, 77 percent of young drivers are very or somewhat confident that they can safely text while driving. Possibly even more alarming, 55 percent of young drivers claim that it's easy to text while driving.

Using a mobile phone while driving is linked to an increase in distracted driving, which can result in injury and loss of life. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, texting while driving is about six times more likely to cause an accident than driving intoxicated and makes you 23 times more likely to crash.

When you text and drive, your attention is taken away from the road, and statistics show that when you text and drive, your focus shifts away from driving for at least five seconds. Although this may not seem like a lot of time, if you are driving at a speed of 55 mph, you would drive the length of a football field in those five seconds.

Consequences of Distracted Driving

In 2012, 3,328 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver and an additional 421,000 were injured (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Although texting and driving may not seem like a big deal, it can have serious consequences. When you text and drive, there are three main types of distractions:

  • Visual: Taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual: Taking your hands off of the wheel
  • Cognitive: Taking your mind off driving

 As of now, the penalty for texting while driving isn't incredibly severe. A ticket will cost you $30 plus court costs for the first offense and increases to $60 for the second offense. Although the penalties may not seem that severe, texting while driving can have more dangerous consequences, such as injury or loss of life.

At the Dellutri Law Group, we encourage all drivers to take the texting ban seriously. When you text and drive, you're putting yourself and other drivers at risk. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a distracted driving accident caused by the negligence of someone else, you may be entitled to compensation.

If you, or someone you know, has been injured due to the negligence of someone else, don’t delay. Contact the Dellutri Law Group today for a free, no-obligation consultation! Call us at (800) 391-4337 or Request a Free Consultation online. Our team of dedicated attorneys and staff are here to help!