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What is the new texting and driving law in Florida?

by | Jul 7, 2020

Car Accidents and Injuries (1)

In July 2019, Florida passed The Wireless Communications While Driving Law (Florida Statutes 316.305), which made texting while driving a primary traffic offense. This new law allows law enforcement officers to pull over and ticket drivers specifically for texting while behind the wheel. Previously, drivers could only be ticketed for texting if they were pulled over for another violation first, e.g. speeding.

The primary reason for the new law is combat distracted driving. In fact, a 2016 study ranked Florida as the second worst state for distracted driving. That same year distracted drivers in Florida caused nearly 50,000 accidents, 233 of which resulted in death.

Because texting requires visual, manual, and cognitive distraction, reducing such distractions will:

  • Increase the safety of all drivers, passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and other people using the roads.
  • Decrease the injuries, deaths, property damage, medical costs, and insurance rate increases that result from car and truck accidents.

The new law specifically prohibits operating a motor vehicle while “manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols or other characters into a wireless communications device.” So, “texting” includes email, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media apps.

However, the new law does not apply in two important situations. First, devices used for navigation are exempt from the law, both smartphones and built-in navigation systems. Second, drivers are allowed to text while vehicles are “stationary,” which includes being stopped red lights or stop signs.

If you’ve been in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, it is still a sensible move to hire a personal injury lawyer to handle your case. A personal injury attorney can benefit you by proving that you bear a smaller percentage of fault and deserve a larger percentage of compensation. You can call us at (561)372-3800 or fill out the confidential form below to speak a team member about your car accident case.

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