Using your cell phone for texting, clicking pictures, or other negligent driving behavior poses a serious threat to the other passengers on the road. Such drivers are often eight times more likely to cause accidents leading to major injuries or even wrongful death. According to Florida’s distracted driving law, texting is a primary offense, and you may face criminal charges. If your texting led to an accident, the law enforcement officers might also charge you with civil charges, which means you are up for serving a long jail time.
Florida’s law gives enough freedom to law enforcement officers to pull over any driver caught texting behind the wheel. The officers will issue you the traffic citations and tickets. In this blog, we will highlight the laws concerning cell phone use in Florida and the consequences you might have to bear if caught.
Understanding the Wireless Communications Law
According to Florida Statutes Section 316.305, officers are allowed to stop vehicle drivers and can issue citations for using their phones and violating the laws. Instant typing is considered illegal while driving. Moreover, you are not allowed to use your wireless device in busy work, school, and construction zones. The wireless devices may include-
- Two-way messaging device
- or an electronic game
Do’s and Don’ts of Texting
Lets’ give you knowledge about what you’re allowed to do with your cellphone and what you can’t do while driving.
- Text at Red Lights
Yes, you can legally text at red lights because your car is practically in no motion. However, there is an exception to this. Drivers are not allowed to do anything with their cellphones in school crossings or work zones, even if they are waiting and their car is stopped. The drivers can talk on their phones using a hands-free device like AirPods or the car system.
- Texting in traffic conditions
No. You are not allowed to text in traffic, even if your car is moving too slowly because of traffic congestion.
- Texting at a Stop-Sign
This is a partial Yes/No case. You can stop and text at a stop sign, but that shouldn’t be the case for long. Giving just a few minutes is recommended, and a longer stopping and texting time means penalties.
You can use your phone for GPS but shouldn’t be seen holding your phone or typing anything while driving.
- Choose a song
Yes, you are allowed to listen to music on your phone while driving , however, be sure to choose your music before you begin driving. Orlando auto accident lawyers tell us that they come across clients involved in an accident because of cell phone use every year. Remember, it won’t be very easy to claim a compensation amount from your insurance company if you are found at fault in Florida, which is a no-fault state.
- Scrolling through Social Media
No, scrolling through your Instagram or Facebook while driving, whether for work or out of your routine, can lead you into serious legal trouble.
- Reading emails
It is illegal to open your Gmail to read your emails or send them to anyone. Nonverbal communication is prohibited while driving.
Traffic Violation Penalties
You will be fined $30 for the first violation, which will not be shown on your driving record.
However, if you repeat this mistake within 5 years, it is considered a severe violation with a $60-100, and you get three points against your license, which will be visible on your driving record for up to 3 years. If your cell phone usage led to an accident, you would be charged 6 points on the driving record for the traffic violation. Remember that these traffic tickets and points can lead to an increase in your insurance premiums.
Using a phone is dangerous because it leaves the drivers with no time to react in case of an accident. Although the rules in Florida are more relaxed than in many other states, it is best advised to avoid using any wireless device.