What should I do if I’m in a car accident caused by texting and driving in Florida?
Accidents caused by texting and driving should be taken very seriously. If you are ever in an accident caused by texting and driving, you should remain calm, assess the situation, and contact law enforcement and emergency services if necessary. Collect evidence while being mindful of nearby traffic. Capture photos or videos of the scene, if possible. Exchange car insurance information with all drivers involved to ensure everyone has car insurance and is protected for medical expenses because of the car accident. Seek legal advice immediately if you believe someone else was at fault for the car accident; there may be more financial compensation you’re eligible for than initially expected.
How can I get help if I’m injured in a car accident due to texting and driving?
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by someone texting and driving in the state of Florida, it is important to get help. The first step should be to seek out any medical assistance you may need to help treat your injury(ies). After that is taken care of, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in victims involved in accidents caused by distracted drivers. A qualified personal injury attorney should understand the complexities of Florida traffic laws, including how texting and driving can influence a case. In addition, having legal representation on your side can provide extra peace of mind for those recovering from the accident. If you or someone else has been injured due to someone texting and driving, don’t hesitate to get the help you need!
How many car accidents are caused by texting and driving in Florida?
Texting and driving has become a major hazard on the roads of Florida, leading to countless preventable car accidents. Florida has the highest rate in the nation for fatal car accidents caused by distracted drivers texting on their phones. In recent data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there were over 57,000 car crashes and 344 fatalities due to drivers engaging in cell phone activities like texting and talking in 2021 alone. Sending a quick text or answering emails on the road is not worth the risk. It’s estimated that taking your eyes off the road for just five seconds can increase your chances of getting into an accident 33 times! Before you start typing away on your phone while on the roads of Florida, remember that it could be risking your safety and the safety of others.
What should I do if I’m pulled over for texting and driving?
If you are pulled over for texting and driving, it’s important to stay as calm as possible and follow the instructions of the police officer. You should never argue or get confrontational, even if you feel like you were treated unfairly. The best thing to do is remain calm, follow the law, and cooperate. It is also helpful to politely answer questions truthfully but avoid incriminating yourself with voluntary admissions. Above all else, accept responsibility for your mistake so that you can prevent future driving errors.
What are the current Florida laws for texting while driving?
Several statutes outline texting while driving laws in Florida. Florida Statute 316.305 allows law enforcement to stop vehicles and issue citations for texting and driving. This statute is cited as the “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law.” This law became effective in January 2020 and specifies that drivers may receive a citation for typing or reading data on any wireless communications device while the vehicle is in motion. “Data” includes letters, numbers, symbols, and other characters.
Using the following wireless communications devices is prohibited:
- Cell phones
- Handheld electronic games
- Any two-way text messaging devices
This law is now a primary offense, which means law enforcement can issue citations for texting and driving without needing another reason to pull you over. Before this law, texting while driving was a secondary offense, and citations could only be issued during traffic stops for other offenses, such as speeding. The law excludes certain motor vehicle operators performing certain duties, primarily for law enforcement and first responders.
Florida Statute 316.306 states that a person may not operate a motor vehicle while using a wireless communications device in a handheld manner in a designated school zone or active work area. The term “handheld” only refers to handheld devices—not a safety, security, or convenience feature built into a motor vehicle that can be operated without using your hands.
If injury, death, or property damage occurs due to an automobile accident caused while texting and driving, additional actions are required and specified in Florida state law. For more information on the laws outlining crashes and injuries, review Florida Statute 316.062 and Florida Statute 316.027.
What are the dangers of texting and driving?
Texting and driving is an increasingly dangerous practice that threatens the safety of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians alike. It has been linked to hundreds of fatalities and thousands of injuries due to direct distraction or impairment of concentration. Since cell phone use causes drivers to take their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel, it reduces reaction time and increases the chance of collisions with other cars, cyclists, and pedestrians. Texting while driving can lead to a situation where a driver might consume more coffee, alcohol, or energy drinks to stay awake while driving. This can be extremely risky when combined with using a phone while driving. Research studies have shown that this combination can lead to dangerous driving behavior and increase the risk of accidents on the road. Now that texting and driving is illegal in several countries around the world, all drivers must take extra precautions when using devices behind the wheel.
How does Florida’s ban on texting and driving law compare to other states?
Florida is one of 36 states with comprehensive bans on texting while driving. The law prohibits drivers from typing, reading, or sending text-based communication behind the wheel. Drivers caught violating the law could face fines ranging from $30 to $500, as well as points against their license— all of which can ultimately lead to higher insurance rates. Additionally, FLHSMV states that a conviction for texting and driving can result in up to five years of jail for any subsequent offenses. For more information on penalties and possible consequences, visit the FLHSMV website, which discusses the Florida DUI and Administrative Suspension Laws.
As a primary enforcement law, officers may pull over drivers solely due to suspicion of texting and driving violations. Compared to other states, this is relatively proactive, given its stringent penalties and potential for citation. While most states similarly restrict mobile phone usage for all drivers, some provide more lenient regulations for teenage drivers who are deemed more vulnerable to the dangers posed by distracted driving. However, Florida has not introduced exemptions to its strict distracted driving laws.
Are there any exceptions to the law?
Texting and driving can be a deadly combination, which is why many states have passed laws prohibiting such activities while operating a motor vehicle. However, there are certain situations under which drivers can legally use handheld devices like cell phones while behind the wheel. Drivers are allowed to set up or use navigation apps that give directions. Additionally, drivers who use phone-based two-way radios for their jobs can receive and make calls without breaking the law. In all cases, safety must remain the number one priority, and paying attention to one’s surroundings is vital.
How does texting and driving impact my insurance rates?
In addition to fines and points on your license for texting and driving, you may also see an increase in your insurance rates due to this type of reckless behavior. Most insurance companies view texting and driving as a form of distracted driving, which is considered hazardous behavior and can result in increased premiums or even cancellation of coverage, depending on the severity of the offense. It’s important to remember that most insurance companies consider any distracted driving—not just texting—grounds for raising rates or canceling coverage.
What are other distracted driving Laws in Florida?
Distracted driving isn’t limited to just texting; other activities like eating, drinking coffee, talking to passengers, caring for young children, playing with pets, applying makeup, or looking away from the road for too long can all lead to serious accidents on the roadways. These types of distractions are secondary offenses, so a police officer must have another valid reason to pull you over before citing you with distracted driving for one of the reasons above. Some counties, such as Miami-Dade, have established stricter laws where these distractions are primary offenses.
We hope this information helps you understand the Florida laws regarding texting while driving and how to avoid getting a ticket for texting while driving. If you or a loved one have been charged with texting and driving, seek legal guidance immediately to help mitigate the long-term effects a conviction may have on your future. Contact Brett M. Bressler, Attorney at Law, at 407-599-2002 or email our team at email@example.com to schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys.
For more information about how we’ve helped our clients, see our history of case results on our website.