New Ban on Texting & Driving Impact Roads in Florida
The long-sought ban on texting while driving goes into effect today, October 1. The new law makes texting while driving a secondary offense, meaning that a driver may only be ticketed if he or she is pulled over for other infractions. Additionally, the law provides exemptions for the use of GPS devices, talk-to-text technology, and reporting criminal behavior. It also allows texting while stopped, such as at a red light.
According to a preliminary report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 256,443 reported crashes in Florida in 2012. In 4,841 of those crashes, a driver had been texting or otherwise using some kind of electronic communication device while driving.
Police will not be able to pull a driver over simply for texting. Rather, the law enforcement officer will have to witness another traffic violation occur, such as the running of a stop sign. In addition to a ticket for that offense, the officer can add on texting while driving violation.
The fine for texting and driving for first-time violators is $30. Any violations after that will be $60. Also, second and subsequent violations committed within a five-year period will be considered moving violations, which will put points on a driver’s license and make it easier for insurance companies to recognize high-risk drivers. This will allow insurance companies to either raise premiums or drop the drivers entirely. If you’re involved in an accident while texting and driving, your phone records can be pulled and used as evidence and six points will be added to your license.
Florida is the 41st state to place a ban on texting and driving. It has taken about five years to pass the texting while driving law in Florida, and many traffic safety experts are criticizing it as weak.
For those who have been involved in accidents caused by distracted drivers, you need the help of an experienced car accident attorney. Although there is finally a law in place to try and prevent people from texting and driving, it may not be enough.
Victims of distracted driving accidents may be eligible for damages due to the negligence of the distracted driver. Contact the Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys from the law offices of Wolf & Pravato at 1-954-633-8270 or fill out our online contact form. Justice is not automatic; we will fight for you.