Texting while driving is one of the worst distracted driving issues, and Florida is second in leading the nation in distracted driving citations. Just four years ago, Florida saw 50,000 accidents because of distracted driving. Therefore, in late 2019, Florida passed a new law, making texting and driving a primary offense.
The New Law and Fines
As of January 1, 2020, law enforcement can now pull drivers over if they are seen texting while driving. Previously, officers could only cite you for texting and driving (secondary offense) if they pulled you over for another infraction beforehand (primary offense).
The first offense will cost you a fine of $30. If you are caught texting and driving a second time, you will have to pay a $60 fine, and your driver’s license will earn 3 points. After that, you could end up losing your license. Additionally, violators could pay court fees on top of the fines.
An Alternative to Fines
A first-time offender of the new law can avoid paying the fine if they complete a safe driver program and show proof of purchasing a hands-free Bluetooth device for their car.
The new law does not apply to drivers who are using their phone as a navigation system. Drivers can also use their phone when stopped at a stop sign or red light. The new law only applies to a car in motion.
However, an officer has to prove that you were texting and driving. To do this, they would need to examine your phone, and that is considered a search. It would be illegal for a police officer to confiscate your phone after stopping you based on the suspicion of texting while driving. The issue becomes a bit murky and can be difficult to prove.
Injured by a Distracted Driver?
Texting while driving is extremely dangerous and can cause serious car accidents, injuries, and even fatalities. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a car accident where the driver was texting, contact us today to find out about your options.