Did you know that 50,000 accidents and 233 deaths were caused by distracted driving in Florida in 2016 alone?

Most of us know the devastating consequences that texting and driving can have on the roads.

Up until now, Florida had remained silent legislatively on this serious issue. Monday, July 1st, however, represents more than just the beginning of a new month, as Florida’s new texting and driving law will take effect. Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law that will provide law enforcement officers with the authority to stop drivers who are texting and driving while on the roads.

To help better inform you about this new law, let us share with you what you need to know about Florida’s new texting and driving law.

  1. What is the scope of this new law?

Although not recommended, drivers may hold the phone to talk while driving and to use GPS devices. There is, however, an important exception to be aware of. As of October 1, drivers may not hold a wireless device in their hands while in a school zone or construction zone where workers are present. Drivers may, however, text and use their wireless devices at stoplights. A driver may only be pulled over for texting and driving when the car is in motion.

  1. What are the penalties if I am stopped for texting and driving?

Texting and driving is now a primary traffic offense. Before this new law took effect, law enforcement officers could only issue a citation for texting and driving if the driver was stopped for some other traffic-related purpose. Now, however, all violators will receive a warning until January 1, 2020. After this date, law enforcement officers will be permitted to write tickets for this offense. It is important to also know that car insurance companies may also raise insurance premiums for drivers who receive a penalty for texting and driving.

  1. What are the recommendations for avoiding a citation?

We encourage you to invest in and utilize a handheld device, such as Bluetooth if you wish to use your wireless device while driving. Many devices have capabilities that allow a person to speak into his or her device and have the device type out a text message on his or her behalf. If you choose to use earphones, however, note that you must leave one ear free from an ear bud.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers for you. Do not wait to contact our experienced local legal defense team at any time. We are standing by, ready to help you, twenty-four hours a day.