Did you know, in 2016, over 50,000 car accidents, and 233 deaths, were caused by distracted driving in Florida? Unfortunately, as car accident attorneys, we see too many instances where texting while driving leads to serious injuries. No message is so important that it cannot wait. Yet, an accident caused by distracted driving can occur in milliseconds and cause severe and lifelong damages. In addition to all the reasons we have always offered to avoid texting and driving, there is now another one: texting while driving will finally be illegal in Florida.
Stats on Distracted Driving
“Studies have shown that texting while driving is one of the worst of all driving distractions and a recent study ranked Florida as the second worst state for distracted driving," Gov. Ron DeSantis said when discussing the bill he recently signed banning texting while driving. See https://www.pnj.com/story/news/2019/05/17/florida-texting-while-driving-ban-signed-into-law-gov-desantis/3707316002/. We are proud of Gov. Ron DeSantis's decision to take steps to prevent accidents caused by distracted driving and save lives by banning texting while driving.
Enforcing the New Law
This new bill will enable police officers to pull vehicles over when the driver is seen texting while driving. Before they could only add texting while driving as a secondary offense after the driver was stopped for a primary offense (such as speeding or failing to stop at an intersection). Once the law is enacted and takes effect on July 1, 2019, Florida will become one of the last states to make texting while driving a primary traffic offense. The new law will also ban the use of smartphones or any other handheld device while the driver is in school or construction zones.
DeSantis said of the new bill: "It's my hope that by taking action to address distracted drivers today, that we will be able to make our roads safer and hopefully prevent some of these crashes that we've seen, injuries and, unfortunately, some of the deaths that we've seen.” See https://www.pnj.com/story/news/2019/05/17/florida-texting-while-driving-ban-signed-into-law-gov-desantis/3707316002/.
Criminal Punishment for Texting While Driving
A first offense of texting while driving under the new bill will be punishable by a $30 fine, with a second offense costing $60. Court costs and fees would also apply, along with points added to license.
As experienced car accident attorneys who deal with the damage and suffering car accidents cause injured drivers every day, we hope this law will prevent more accidents and deaths from occurring as a result of distracted driving.