Texting while driving has always been frowned upon for obvious safety reasons, but due to a new law that’s been passed in Florida there’s even more of a reason not to text and drive. On May 17th, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill making it a possible for law enforcement to stop and ticket drivers who are caught texting. Under the previous law, drivers on their phones could only be cited if they were pulled over for another violation first.
It’s been illegal to text while driving for years in Florida, but law enforcement has never been allowed to stop drivers specifically for it – resulting in a law that’s hardly been enforced. According to an article on Florida Trend, not even 1,700 tickets were issued for this offense in the last year.
This new law sets out to change those numbers. The goal is to make putting phones down as much of a habit as wearing a seatbelt.
The New Texting While Driving Law in Florida
Beginning July 1st, if your phone is in your hands while you are on the move then you are not only putting the your live and the lives of others in danger, you are also setting yourself up for a possible ticket. Phones can however be used while your vehicle is stopped.
The first violation is a $30 ticket, and the second violation is a $60 ticket. With court costs involved it could go up to closer to $100 per violation, as reported by Orlando Sentinel. These may not seem like steep costs, but it’s a good reminder that texting while driving isn’t safe. In order to make sure racial profiling won’t be an issue with traffic stops due to this new law, law enforcement will be required to keep track of race and ethnicity for each person they pull over using their cellphone.
For the safety of yourself and others, it’s always best to refrain from texting and driving. It’s one of the main causes of accidents on the road and can be easily remedied by simply not using your phone while driving. Whatever it is can wait, or if it’s of dire importance, pull over and sent the text while your vehicle isn’t moving.
If you do find yourself in trouble for texting and driving, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney like Russell Spatz for assistance. Give him a call today at 305-442-0200 to see how he can help you.
Mower, L., & Tampa Bay Times. (n.d.). Tougher texting while driving law in Florida approved by Gov. DeSantis. Retrieved from https://www.floridatrend.com/article/26877/tougher-texting-while-driving-law-in-florida-approved-by-gov-desantis
Maxwell, S., & Maxwell, S. (2019, May 16). Florida’s new texting-while driving law: You have Q’s. I have A’s | Commentary. Retrieved from https://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/scott-maxwell-commentary/os-op-florida-texting-driving-now-illegal-scott-maxwell-20190501-story.html