In October, Florida’s streets will get significantly safer because the CS/CS/HB 13, Florida’s No Texting Law, will go into effect. The new law bans both texting while driving and emailing while driving and in my opinion as a car accident lawyer in Miami, this life saving law could not come any sooner.
Texting while Driving Law is Deliberately Hard to Enforce
Unfortunately, the only way for the violation to apply, the driver must first be pulled over for another traffic infraction. This has a negative impact on the new legislation and really takes the teeth out of this long overdue law. The law enforcement officers must not only catch a driver speeding or running a red light, but also has to see them texting at the same time. The law also does not apply to stationary vehicles. This means those who immediately grab their phones the minute traffic slows to a stop or while waiting to make a turn can still text legally when behind the wheel. If your car is not in motion (driving) then you are still legally permitted to use your phone.
Ironically, the greatest deterrent to texting and driving in Florida may be found in the new way the law violates a potential violator’s right of privacy. This is because, the law gives law enforcement the right to subpoena an accused’s cell phone billing records as well as take the deposition testimony of those receiving messages to be used as admissible as evidence. In other words, one better think twice about texting while driving, not just because of the potential for causing a fatal car accident, but also because who and what is being text is now discoverable by the State of Florida. Texting the wrong thing, at the wrong time (behind the wheel) to the wrong person can not only endanger your life (and the life of others), but could also be extremely embarrassing if the texts become public record.
Texting and Driving Law Penalties and Fees
First time violators face a whopping $30.00 fine (this law is lacking a significant financial deterrent) while second or subsequent violations committed within a five year period will be classified as a “moving violation.” These moving violations earn the driver three points to their license, a $60 fine and court costs which vary by county ranging from $78 to $100.
The penalties increase in certain circumstances, for instance, if a driver causes a traffic accident while texting they face will a six point assessment compared to simply texting in a school zone, where they face only a two points added to their driver’s license.
If you have been involved in an accident because of someone’s negligent use of a cell phone while driving you may be entitled to compensation. If you simply want to know more about this legislation and the impact it has on your driving safety please email me, Spencer Aronfeld, for a free consultation. You can call our office anytime to speak to any of our accident attorneys who will be happy to fill you in on the details of this new legislation.
More on texting and driving: https://www.aronfeld.com/car-accidents.html