Texting While Driving Lawyers
Distracted driving is a common issue among drivers throughout the State of Florida. Distracted driving, or careless driving, can occur for a wide range of reasons, but phone use is among the most prevalent throughout the United States — in 2018, phone use accounted for more than one-third of instances in which unsafe driving occurred. While Florida legislators aim to make roadways safer through the creation and implementation of new laws, motorists become susceptible to penalties associated with distracted, careless, and reckless driving — among other types of moving violations — which may result in points against their license, substantial fines and fees, increased premiums for auto insurance, court-ordered driving school, and even license suspension or revocation. If you have been pulled over for texting and driving in Florida, contact an Orlando personal injury lawyer with the Law Offices of Michael B. Brehne, P.A. We work diligently to defend your rights and can help you contest the charges.
Texting While Driving Laws In Florida
Signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Senate Bill 76 aims to reduce the occurrence of accidents and deaths caused by distracted driving. Drivers who text while operating a motor vehicle risk paying a fine and receiving points on their driver’s license after the bill’s effective date — July 1, 2019. Prior to Senate Bill 76, texting while driving was deemed a secondary offense in which police officers could not pull over and cite a driver without the presence of an additional crime, as per Florida Statute § 316.305.
However, stricter punishment on texting while driving through the new Florida texting and driving law make this violation a primary offense for which drivers may be pulled over by police officers and issued citations and fines for the offense. In addition, drivers are not permitted to use their phones for any purpose outside of an emergency while driving within school zones and work zones. If you are cited by a law enforcement officer for texting while driving, protect your rights and contact our traffic ticket attorneys.
Exceptions To Florida’s Texting & Driving Laws
There are several exceptions to texting and driving laws in Florida. Motorists may use their cellular devices — in a hands-free manner — for navigation purposes; to call 911 in an emergency; receive information related to traffic or weather alerts; or to talk on the phone using the voice command function. Additionally, Senate Bill 76 allows drivers to text while behind the wheel of a stationary vehicle, such as while stopped at a red light.
Texting While Driving Statistics
Data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles unveil the steady increase in the occurrence of traffic fatalities throughout the state — the number of fatalities as a result of car accidents have steadily increased by 3,000 each year since 2016. A significant portion of these fatalities occurs due to distracted driving, such as texting and driving. Distracted driving comprises any type of non-driving activity while operating a motor vehicle and it primarily exists in the following three forms — each of which applies to texting and driving.
- Distractions caused by visual stimuli. This occurs when drivers take their eyes off of the road in order to witness billboard, roadway signs, wildlife, or any other visual stimuli.
- Distractions that are manual. Manual distractions occur when a driver removes their hands from the steering wheel while operating a motor vehicle, such as to text.
- Distractions that are cognitive. Cognitive distractions occur when drivers think about anything other than the effective and legal operation of their motor vehicle.
Penalties For Texting While Driving In Florida
Traffic ticket fines for texting while driving violations increase with each subsequent offense. A primary offense carries a $30 fine in addition to any applicable court fees, while second offense penalties include a $60 fine in addition to court fees and three points on the driver’s record. Drivers who text and drive in certain areas in which the roadways are subject to more severe punishment — school zones and work zones — may receive three points on their license for a first offense and more severe penalties for a second offense.
In the event that texting while driving results in an accident, law enforcement may additionally cite the driver responsible for the accident for more serious violations, including reckless driving. What’s more, if an accident occurs and the injured party files a lawsuit against the liable driver, evidence of texting and driving may prove negligence or recklessness, which may determine the outcome of the personal injury lawsuit and may even result in jail time for the liable party. If you have been pulled over for texting while driving in Florida, contact a personal injury lawyer.
Enforcement Of Texting While Driving Laws
With regard to texting while driving, The State of Florida allows primary enforcement for situations in which a driver uses a mobile device to text, send an email, or perform any other type of manual act with a device while operating a motor vehicle. This means that police officers may pull over and cite drivers even if the officer observes no other violation. However, drivers who are pulled over for texting while driving have no legal requirement to present or provide their cellular device to law enforcement.
Officers require a warrant to claim a driver’s phone, unless the device may be deemed admissible as evidence from a car crash in which severe bodily injury or death results. If you were pulled over for texting and driving and law enforcement required you to relinquish your cellular device without providing you with a warrant, contact a criminal defense attorney with the Law Offices of Michael B. Brehne, P.A. We will help you determine the best course of action for your case.
How To Fight A Traffic Ticket In Florida
Texting while driving is a serious offense which — depending on a number of factors, such as whether it is a primary or secondary offense and whether an accident occurred as a result — may result in severe consequences and penalties. If you were pulled over and issued a ticket for texting while driving, consult with the experienced traffic violation lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael B. Brehne, P.A. The most effective way to fight a traffic ticket is with the help of attorneys specialize in defending traffic cases. We will evaluate all of the evidence involved and help you determine the most effective method in which to contest the violation in order to help ensure an optimal result to your case and the protection of your legal rights. Contact us today.