New Florida Law Makes Texting While Driving a Primary Offense
In the summer of 2019, lawmakers within Florida passed a resolution aimed to reduce the number of accidents, injuries, and fatalities connected to individuals texting while driving. While the law was first put into effect on the 1st of July, 2019, traffic officers and spokespeople for various law enforcement agencies working throughout the state are now letting people know that the preliminary roll-out period for this law has now passed, meaning that the punishments related to texting and driving are about to become more serious.
On July 1st, the public was told that texting while driving, while banned for several years, was going to no longer be a secondary offense. This meant that drivers were not pulled over simply for being observed texting, and any punitive measures taken against texting drivers was always connected to other traffic violations. Authorities gave the public six months to begin adjusting to the new system, during which time people were able to be pulled over simply for texting but were given warnings instead of official citations.
With this grace period now over, texting while driving will be a full primary offense, meaning that drivers in Florida who are caught texting will find themselves receiving hefty fines as well as possible points added to their licenses.
In addition to the ban on texting while driving, the new law takes firmer stances on individuals using cell phones for calling while within both school and work zones. This, of course, does not extend to individuals who are using their phones with a hands-free device such as Bluetooth.
For those who receive a first offense ticket relating to texting while driving, the fees will start at $30 simply for the fine. Court costs will bump this fine up towards $108.16. Second time offenders will see themselves paying upwards of $158.18 if they violate the law within five years of their first violation.
Emergency response crews throughout Florida are optimistic that these news laws will help to ensure that more and more people are safe while traveling along the state’s many roadways and result in far fewer injuries and fatalities as a result of collisions caused by distracted driving.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.