Is Florida’s new distracted driving law effective?

As a Florida driver, you are probably aware of the extent of the distracted driving problem in the state. You have probably shared the road with drivers who are texting, emailing, looking at Facebook, eating, adjusting the radio or doing various other things while behind the wheel. To fight this problem, Florida legislators recently passed a law that makes using the phone while driving a primary offense.

As a primary offense, law enforcement can now pull drivers over if they see them texting or using their phones while driving. Despite this change, which many hoped would lead to safer roads, few police officers have actually written citations. It’s difficult to determine whether this law has helped with the problem of distracted driving.

The impact of the new law

Like many others, you may hope that a new law with tougher distracted driving consequences would help discourage this dangerous behavior and make the roads safer. It is not clear if this law will accomplish that. One reason why the results remain unclear is that many officers have yet to write tickets for distracted driving. Instead, many of them are opting to write warnings for drivers they pull over. They say they are choosing to educate drivers and give people time to learn about the new law. 

Additionally, some people suggest that the new laws may not actually be tough enough. The fines for a first-time distracted driving offense is only $30 plus court fees. A second offense is $60 and also comes with three points on a person’s license. There are some who think that the law will be ineffective and perhaps will not be enough to influence driver behavior.

Loopholes in the law and your safety

An officer can pull a driver over if he or she see the driver texting or using the phone while the car is moving. However, drivers can use a navigation app, get a weather update or even text while stopped at a light. Additionally, a driver does not have to hand over his or phone if an officer asks to verify whether a driver was texting.

With the loopholes in the law, it’s possible this new legislation may not help with the distracted driving problem in the state. However, if you are a victim of a distracted driver, you still have legal options available to you. Each driver is responsible for the choices he or she makes, and you may be able to hold liable parties accountable for the pain and suffering you experienced.


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