Miami Texting And Driving
Texting while driving in Miami is against the law. It is illegal for Florida drivers to manually text, email, or send a message while behind the wheel. State law enabled law enforcement officers to cite motorists for texting and driving since Jan. 1, 2019, per the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). Due to the rise in accidents that texting while driving causes, this law aims to prevent people from suffering injuries or even passing away from their negligent behavior.
Still, drivers disobey the law, upending innocent lives in some cases. If you were hurt in a texting while driving car accident in Miami, FL, a lawyer with the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato can help you seek compensation for your losses. Connect with us at (954) 633-8270 today for a free consultation.
The Purpose of the No Texting While Driving Law in Florida
On July 1, 2019, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed The Wireless Communications While Driving Law, “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law,” or Florida Statutes § 316.305, into law. It intends to:
- Improve roadway safety for all road users
- Reduce traffic accidents related to texting and driving
- Allow law enforcement officers to stop texting drivers and issue citation
- Save lives and reduce injuries
Overall, this law bans the use of any wireless communications device considered “handheld” while operating a vehicle.
Penalties for Texting While Driving
According to Florida Statutes § 316.305, you may face the following penalties if you text and drive:
- First offense: A non-moving violation, a $30 fine, and additional court costs
- Second offense: Within five years, a moving violation, at least a $60 fine, additional fees, and three points off the driver’s license
If you use a handheld communications device in a work or school zone, it doesn’t matter whether it’s your first or 10th offense. You will at least receive a moving violation, face at least a $60 fine and possibly other fees, and have points taken off your driver’s license.
Exceptions to Driving and Phone Laws
You may not have penalties if any one of the following categories applies to your situation:
- Your vehicle was stationary.
- You’re on the clock as emergency medical personnel.
- You’re reporting a criminal activity or emergency.
- You’re using your navigation system.
- You’re utilizing wireless communications without manually typing or reading directly from a device.
- You’re driving an autonomous vehicle in an autonomous zone.
What to Do If You’re in a Texting While Driving Accident in Miami
If you get into a car accident involving someone who was using their phone while driving, act as you would after any crash.
- Ensure everyone’s safety. Pull over to the side of the road if it’s not safe to stay put.
- Call 911 and render first aid to anyone who suffered injuries until the paramedics arrive.
- Call the police. They will write up a crash report, which you can use as evidence later in your case.
- Document the scene. Take pictures of your visible injuries, and record a video of the damage and the scene from various angles.
- Ask for all involved parties’ contact and insurance information.
- If witnesses saw the crash, write down their names and phone numbers. Having an objective view of what happened can help your claim.
- Accept medical treatment once help arrives.
- Notify your insurance company of the accident.
Don’t stress if you didn’t or can’t do all of these things right away and in this order. The aftermath of an accident is chaotic, so your health should be your primary focus.
Consider Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer on Our Team
You’re probably struggling to pay your bills, get back to work, and bounce back after a distracted driving accident. With that, you may want to think about hiring a lawyer to take on your case. They can offer the following services while you rest:
- Accessing a copy of the crash report
- Putting together an evidence file that backs up your claims
- Naming the liable party or parties
- Going back and forth with relevant parties
- Quantifying your economic and non-economic damages
- Settling your case during negotiations with the insurance company
- Trying your case before a jury, if necessary
- Complying with important deadlines
On top of dealing with the legalities of your case, we will ensure you receive optimal client care from start to finish. That is, expect us to give you regular updates on the status of your case and to always avail ourselves if you ever have a question or concern about anything during the claims process.
Proving Your Distractions While Driving Accident Case
You must provide various forms of evidence to substantiate your texting while driving accident case. Common types include the following:
- Photos of the the crash
- Photos of your injuries
- Traffic camera footage or personal video recordings
- Your medical records
- Traffic citations against the other driver
- The other driver’s phone records to prove they were texting and driving at the time of the crash
- The crash report
- Eyewitness statements
Our attorneys can help you apply this information to show the other party caused the accident by satisfying the elements of negligence:
- The other party had an obligation to exercise a legal duty of care.
- They did not fulfill this obligation by texting while driving.
- This negligence caused a crash and your injuries.
- You sustained medical bills, pain and suffering, property damage expenses, lost income, and lost earning capacity because of the incident.
You must meet all these criteria to collect compensation for your injuries. Otherwise, your case is invalid.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Texting While Driving in Miami
Our Miami car accident lawyers have received dozens of questions about distracted driving laws and texting and driving collisions over the years. Since then, we’ve accumulated a list of frequently asked questions so that you have a general idea of the topic.
Why Is Texting While Driving Dangerous?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), texting is the most concerning driving behavior. Texting or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for about five seconds. If you drive at 55 mph, that’s equivalent to driving across a football field with your eyes closed.
A lot can go and has gone wrong in five seconds. The NHTSA says that in 2020, 3,142 people lost their lives in a distracted driving accident.
How Does Texting and Driving Affect Us?
Texting and driving, and distracted driving more broadly, can lead to car accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), distracted driving generally occurs in three ways:
- Manual: When your hands are off the wheel
- Cognitive: When you take your mind off the road and driving
- Visual: When you’re not looking at the road
Texting involves all three of these distractions, as you’re using at least one hand to text, your mind is on the conversation, and your eyes are set on the phone.
Teenagers had the highest rate of getting into a fatal accident while using a phone while driving among all the other age groups in 2019.
Why Is Texting While Driving Illegal in Florida?
Texting while driving is illegal in Florida due to the rise of property damage, serious injuries, and death from these distracted behaviors. In order to combat this recklessness, the state began the Put It Down: Focus on Driving campaign in July 2019. It gives law enforcement free license to pull over and cite drivers who break texting and driving laws. That way, drivers will feel compelled to put down their phones and focus on the road.
How Do You Prevent Texting While Driving?
To put a stop to texting while driving, start with yourself and check out these tips:
- Put your phone where you can’t reach it. Out of sight, out of mind.
- Put your phone on the “Do Not Disturb” setting.
- If you’re a passenger and the driver starts texting, politely ask them to put their phone away.
- Parents should inform their new teen drivers about the potential risks of texting and driving.
- Parents must lead by example. Don’t tell your child not to text and drive and then text and drive when you’re operating the vehicle.
If you must, safely pull over to the side of the road to use your phone.
Can I Report Texting While Driving in Florida?
If you see someone texting and driving, we suggest you take the following actions:
- Drive ahead of the driver, or slow down and let them drive ahead of you.
- If you can’t seem to get away from them, dial 911.
- When you speak to the operator, tell them the behavior the texting driver exhibits, not just that they’re texting. Are they swerving? Speeding?
Don’t take matters into your own hands to stop the driver on your own. Always make sure to involve law enforcement.
Let the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato Take Your Texting and Driving Case
Everyone knows that distracted driving is dangerous, but some think they can still get away with it. Sadly, accidents and injuries transpire because of this negligence. If you or a loved one was hurt in a texting while driving accident in Miami, an attorney from the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato can help you seek compensation for your losses.