texting-and-driving-jesusAs of tomorrow, October 1, it will be illegal to text while driving. Advocates for safer streets have been lobbying for this for years (nod to Florida Bicycle Association, CommuteOrlando), but we’ve only now joined the 41 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgina Islands to make it illegal. There are still some glaring loopholes that set us apart.

In Florida, texting while driving is only a secondary offense, meaning law enforcement can’t pull you over solely for the action. The ticket itself is only $30, but multiple offenses become moving violations and add points to your license/ raise your insurance premiums.

In Florida, it remains just fine to text or drop an email when you’re at a red light – which sounds okay until you realize that motorists are obliged to check for people still in crosswalks as well as green lights. It’s also fine to take calls, change your Pandora station or use Google Maps.

If you’re like most people, you think you’re better than the average driver and don’t know you’re four times more likely to get into a serious collision (re: hurt yourself, not just your car) when you reach for the phone. Be careful out there. And please, put the phone down.

More fun infographics here.

 

 

 

2 Responses to Texting While Driving (Finally) Against the Law in Florida

  1. Mike Arias says:

    Hello,

    As a long term public safety roadway advocate and certifid traffic school instructor as well although the intention of this bill I believe is well intended and long over due as well from a public safety perspective the nominal financial penalties involved of $ 30.00 for first time offenders, $ 60.00 for second time offenders and 6 points in the event a collision occurs while using a cellphone.

    Note : Cellphones can still legally be utilized anytime that, the vehicle is stationary at an intersection and the driver is waiting for the traffic light to change.

    In my estimation this bill / law due to its current nominal financial fines it is not going to have any major adverse effect in reducing the current statistics recorded annually for collisions, injuries and fatalities which are unfortunately occuring daily on the public roadways throughout the State as a result of the misuse of the cellphones by drivers.

    In addition, this violation is a secondary offense not a primary offense so therefore a police officer cannot just stop a driver they see driving by that is texting or using a cellphone on a public roadway. There has to be another reason for the traffic stop to occur and then cite them for the misuse of the cellphone on a public roadway.

    Last, but not least who is going to enforce this law since there are currently not enough police officers patroling the public roadways and those that are on patrol have to respond to priority emergencies calls so in essence there is no traffic enforcement occuring in South Florida with the exception of the smaller municipalities which have a very low crime rate occurance whereas they typically then have an aggressive traffic enforcement program in their areas.

    I do not understand what took so long for elected public officials in the State of Florida to pass this law 41 st State in the Nation to join this much need public safety campaign.

    They could have utilized parts or the entire model bill utilized in other States which I believe would then yield the desired results much needed to benefit everyones public safety vested interests throughout the State of Florida.

    Lets not forget that the mis use of the cellphone on a public roadway by a driver is certainly not the only distraction currently on the public roadways but rather 1 of numerous other types of distractions :

    Eating and driving, smoking, looking and listening to the navigational system, changing the radio stations, inserting a CD etc, looking at a map or a book etc, talking to the passenger next to you, driving by the scene of a disabled vehicle, collision or traffic stop where emergency vehicles are stationed, applying make up, shaving etc etc.

    The bottom line is that ALL motorists need to drive safely, defensively, wear seat belts and always be aware of your surroundings so that everyone traveling on the highly congested public roadways or those undergoing construction can hopefully ARRIVE ALIVE to their intended destinations each and every time.

    Lets ALL Be Safe while traveling on the public roadways !

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  2. Jimmy says:

    It would be cruel indeed if the third party injured in an accident caused by a driver were denied the benefits of that person’s insurance because the driver was texting, whether legally or not. Employers who insure corporate vehicles should not be penalized (i.e., lose their insurance coverage) because an employee behaves recklessly. Better instead to encourage employers to have policies against cell phone use/distracted driving by discounting premiums.

       0 likes

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