Florida's Texting while Driving Law Goes into Effect

We have previously drawn attention to the new law in Florida that bans texting while driving and now that law has officially gone into effect. As of October 1, 2013, you could get a ticket if you are caught texting, emailing, or messaging with your phone or other device while behind the wheel. There are some details to know about this new law.

First, the law bans manual texting only while driving so you are technically allowed to text if you are stopped in traffic or stopped at a red light. And you are still technically allowed to talk on your phone while driving; you just can’t be typing on it. Additionally, texting while driving is a “secondary offense,” meaning you have to be pulled over for some other violation like speeding, careless driving, non-working tail light, etc. in order to be given a valid ticket for texting while driving. In other words, texting while driving is not enough for a police officer to pull you over. You have to also be violating some other rule of the road before you can be given a ticket for texting and driving. Many safety advocates would like to see texting while driving become a primary offense, but take some solace in the fact that the seat belt law started off as a secondary offense before becoming a primary offense. Finally, your first texting while driving offense will run you about $30 in fines plus court costs. A second offense will be $60 in fines plus court costs.

The new ban aims to increase driver safety by reducing the potential causes of car accidents.