Cell Phone Use and Distracted Driving
Each state varies as to what the law is regarding cell phone use. It’s undisputed that cell phone use is one of the leading factors for car accidents. However, one important legal question to consider is in Florida is it legal to drive a motor vehicle and operate your cell phone at the same time?
Startling Statistics about Cell Phone Use
The National Safety Council, a non-profit who is a leader in trying to prevent car accidents, reported that Florida in recent years has had the fourth-highest rate for fatal car crashes involving cell phones.
Within the United States, 25% of car accidents are caused as a result of texting and driving and over 330,000 injuries are a result of this type of distracted driving. One problem why so many car accidents happen is 30% of drivers between the ages of 20 and 31 say that texting and driving have no impact on their driving skills.
Cell Phone and Driving Law
According to the NCSL, currently, no state has banned cell phone use for every single driver in their states. However, depending on the state, there are bans for certain groups (such as teen drivers and school bus drivers).
In Florida, there is no cell phone use ban currently implemented. However, it is against the law to text and drive. This restriction applies to all drivers. The Florida Legislature made this ban effective in October 2013:
“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 nonverbal interpersonal communication, included, but not limited to, communication methods known as texting, emailing and instant messaging.”
Future Cell Phone Laws in Florida
The Florida House of Representatives recently introduced a new legislative bill that would amend the current law. This more restrictive law would make texting and driving a $30 fine, plus court costs for a first offense. However, any subsequent offenses would be a $60 fine that occurs within a five-year time frame. These additional offenses would also result in a three-point penalty on the driver’s license and a six-point penalty if the texting results in a crash.
Florida is one of only four states that still consider texting and driving a secondary offense. This means that a police officer may give you a ticket, but must stop you for another reason. Texting and driving currently in the state of Florida is similar to failure to wear a seatbelt, which is also a secondary offense. This new law would change texting and driving to a primary offense, giving police officers a reason to pull drivers over.
Free Consultations from Lulich Attorneys & Consultants
The Law firm of Lulich Attorneys and Consultants has been serving victims of distracted driving crashes for over 30 years. If you have been injured as a result of an accident, make sure you understand your legal rights. Our offices offer Free Consultations today. Call (772) 589-5500.