January 7, 2020
Recently passed laws designed to ban texting while driving in Florida began full enforcement on January 1, 2020. If observed driving while texting, an officer can pull you over for a primary offense violation.
As reported by the Tampa Bay Times, if you are in an accident in which either an injury or death occurs, the call records from your cellphone or from one belonging to another involved driver may serve as evidence in court. Sending or reading a text message while operating a motor vehicle may prove to be a significant factor in determining culpability for a roadway injury or death.
According to figures supplied by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were more than 82,500 crashes in the Sunshine State that resulted in injuries during the first six months of 2019. During that same period, 1,529 crashes resulted in fatalities. Further statistics compiled by the FLHSMV for the entire year 2018 show that greater than 1,000 crashes each week were the result of distracted driving.
Nationwide statistics reported by the CDC show that a distraction while driving accounts for the deaths of as many as nine people each day. The federal agency views texting while operating a motor vehicle as an especially dangerous form of driver distraction.
In an effort to make the Sunshine State’s roads safer, Florida’s legislators passed the Wireless Communications While Driving law. The law prohibits typing into a wireless device to email, send an instant message or text while operating a motor vehicle. An exception to the new law permits motorists to text while stopped at a red light. You may send, receive and read text messages as long as your vehicle is not moving.