New law makes using a phone while driving a primary offense

On Behalf of | Dec 28, 2019 | Car Accidents |

Tech enthusiasts are usually the first people to hop in line for the newest, most advanced smartphones, but they are not alone in their excitement. In fact, you might not even know anyone who does not own a smartphone. It might also be hard to find someone who does not use his or her phone while driving. That could change as Florida police begin to enforce a new law.

It is no secret that texting and driving is dangerous. Despite this, many drivers seem to have a lot of misplaced confidence in their abilities to multitask. Police can now issue tickets to texting drivers and, in some cases, may ticket drivers who have any type of electronic device in their hands.

A new law for an old problem

Cellphones have been around for quite a while now, and smartphones are not all that new either. It probably did not take long for drivers to start focusing on their phones instead of the road. In July 2019, Florida passed a new law that addresses two of the biggest issues with driver phone use. These are:

  • Texting while driving
  • Talking on the phone or texting in work and school zones

Texting behind the wheel was already banned before this new law, but it was not easy for police to actually stop anyone from doing it. In the past, police could only issue text-and-driving citations after stopping drivers for different traffic violations. The new law makes texting and driving and using phones in work and school zones a primary offense, meaning that police can pull over drivers for these actions on their own.

Tickets are coming soon

Although the law went into effect on July 1, 2019, police have not been ticketing drivers just yet. The Florida Highway Patrol opted to give drivers a six-month learning period. So while officers have been pulling people over, they have only been issuing warnings. Between July and Dec. 2019, law enforcement officers issued 1,151 warnings.

Drivers will have to pay court costs and a $30 fine for a first offense, and the total cost could be as much as $108.16. If a driver commits a second violation in the five-year period following his or her first ticket, the fine doubles to $60. With court costs, the total sum for a second offense could total $158.18.

Will this protect drivers?

It is certainly possible that this law will make drivers reconsider their choices behind the wheel. Some may choose to put their phones away and focus on the task at hand, but many others will continue to engage in dangerous behaviors. This puts every on the road at risk for serious injury.

Since the person who caused your accident was using his or her phone while driving, you know just how serious this issue truly is. You also know that you need help during your recovery. Getting compensation for things like lost wages and medical bills is an important but difficult step, but filing a personal injury suit is not something that you have to take on by yourself. Choosing to work with a Florida attorney who has the experience and knowledge to uphold your rights is a much better approach.


attorneys Brad Culpepper and Brett J. Kurland