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Texting And Driving Legal Facts

Thursday, January 6, 2022 12:00 AM


Each year, thousands of vehicle crashes occur due to distracted driving. Even though most people know that they shouldn’t text and drive, nearly 80% of Americans admit doing so. However, recent texting and driving statistics show just how serious this problem is nationwide. 

Texting and Driving Statistics

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • Distracted driving causes 3,142 traffic fatalities per year.
  • It is a contributing factor in 5.9% of fatal crashes.
  • Texting and driving is the 5th leading cause of traffic deaths in the United States behind speeding, drugs, alcohol, and right of way violations.
  • It has a higher percentage of traffic fatalities among teenagers than any other group.

This is why it’s crucial to understand how dangerous it can be to text and drive. 

What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is any action that takes your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road, or your mind off driving while operating a motor vehicle. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there are three kinds of driver distractions:

  • Visual: Taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual: Taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive: Thinking about anything other than driving

Texting while driving encompasses all three types of distraction, making it one of the riskiest of distracted driving behaviors, putting everyone sharing the road with you in danger.

What Are the Texting and Driving Laws in Florida?

On July 1, 2019, Section 316.305 Florida Statutes went into effect, appropriately titled “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law.” The law prohibits using any “wireless communications device” designed to receive or transmit text or character-based messages or allow text communications while operating a motor vehicle. 

Effective January 1, 2020, texting while driving became a primary offense. This gives law enforcement officers the authority to pull a driver over solely for texting while driving. Previously, texting while driving was only a secondary offense, meaning a citation for texting and driving could only be issued if the driver had been pulled over for a primary offense, such as speeding.

Distracted Driving Penalties in Florida

Penalties for distracted driving vary depending on if it’s a first offense, subsequent offense, or occurred in a school zone. According to Section 316.305 Florida Statutes

  • A first offense is a non-moving violation that carries a fine of $30 plus court costs and fees. No points are assessed against the driver’s license.
  • Subsequent offenses, if committed within five years of the first offense, are considered moving violations. The result is fines of $60 plus court costs and fees, and three points are assessed against the driver’s license.
  • Using a wireless communications device in a posted school zone is a moving violation, even if it’s a first offense. The fine is $60 plus court costs and fees, and three points are assessed against the driver’s license.

Attorneys You Can Talk To!
Accidents happen, and when they do, you and your family will have questions about your rights and their impact on your life. If you’ve been injured due to a distracted driver, the attorneys at Doran, Beam & Farrell understand your concerns and are ready to answer any question or address concerns that you may have about your claim. To schedule a FREE case evaluation, call or text us at (727) 846-1000 or complete our online contact form