Florida's New Texting While Driving Law Is Going Into Effect & Here's What You Need To Know
Don't ring in the new year with a new ticket.
Driving in Florida is many things. Sometimes infuriating, ironic, hilarious, and always memeable. And thanks to a new law going into effect in just two weeks, it’s about to become a little safer too. At the very least, the new no-texting-while-driving law will certainly help to give drivers pause before picking up their phones while on the road.
The Sunshine State is ringing in the new year with the new law, as it officially goes into effect on January 1. A first offense will cost the guilty driver $30, while a second one will cost $60, plus three points on your license.
If you thought the law had already been in place since the summertime, you’re not wrong. The law began on July 1, but law enforcement officials have been using this time as a grace period to get drivers used to the new law and make them aware. Consider your warning officially over.
Police don’t think they’ll have a problem enforcing the new law, as drivers that are distracted while at the wheel are fairly easy to spot.
In just 2016, the State Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles recorded almost 50,000 crashes involving distracted driving in Florida. And these distracted driving incidents were responsible for more than 3,500 serious injuries and 233 deaths.
There is still some leeway to the new law, however. While police do not recommend it, you can hold the phone while talking, and answer and hang up calls. The exception, however, is while driving through a school or work zone, in which case it is not allowed at all.
And while it is again not recommended, drivers could still text while at stoplights because officers can only stop a driver while the car is in motion. Using the phone for GPS tracking is also still allowed.
Florida is one of the last states to officially consider texting while driving a primary traffic violation.
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