Texting while driving in Florida has been illegal since 2013.
That hasn’t changed.
What has changed is a new Florida law effective July 1, 2019, which makes it a primary offense; If a driver is caught texting while driving that is.
This means that motorists will now be stopped and ticketed for texting while driving. Unlike before, when texting was considered a secondary offense. This meant drivers could only be ticketed if stopped for another traffic violation; such as illegal lane changes or speeding.
The Governor of Florida, Ron De Santis, signed this new bill into law last Friday, in order to allow officers the ability to stop motorists for texting alone.
What does this mean for fellow drivers caught texting?
- First-time offenders will be required to pay a fine of $30.
- Second-time offenders will be required to pay a fine of $60, in addition to possible court costs, fees and points on their driver’s license.
- For now, warnings will be given until January of 2020, when officers can begin writing citations.
This texting ban does not apply in the following circumstances:
- If a driver is using a navigation device/system on their phone
- If a driver’s vehicle is stationary
Soon Florida will be off the short list of states that still do not make texting a primary offense; This includes South Dakota, Ohio, and Nebraska.
This may seem like the next logical step in reducing the number of motor-vehicle accidents caused by texting on the road; However, only time will tell if stricter laws will make a noticeable difference in distracted driving.
If you or a loved one has been injured while driving through no fault of their own, call the Law Offices of James G. Graver, P.A. for a free and confidential consultation.