Texting and Driving May Become Primary Offense in Florida

texting and driving We all know texting and driving is a major problem, but according to a study conducted by the app EverDrive, about 92% of drivers with cell phones nationwide were using their phones while driving over a 30 day time period. EverDrive conducted this survey by following 2.7 million vehicle trips and over 230 million miles of travel and found that Florida is one of the worst states for distracted driving, second only to Louisiana. However, little can be done to combat this problem without tougher legislation against those who use their phone while driving, specifically those who text while behind the wheel.

Florida Distracted Driving Stats

In 2015, there were over 45,000 distracted driving crashes in the state of Florida, contributing to 39,000 injuries and 200 deaths. This number unfortunately rose to close to 50,000 accidents, with 233 deaths a year later in 2016. Clearly the numbers point to a growing problem on our roads.

Texting and Driving Legislation         

In 2013, Florida passed a law that made it a secondary offense to text while driving. This means that someone who is caught must be pulled over for a primary violation before being given a citation for texting. The current penalty for texting while driving is a $20 fine with no points on your license.

Proposed Legislation

The new legislation proposed by Florida State Representatives Jackie Toledo and Emily Slosberg would make texting while driving a primary offense in the state of Florida. This would allow law enforcement to pull over drivers who are texting behind the wheel without needing another reason to do so. Additionally, this would allow tougher penalties for those who are caught in the act. The penalties proposed for this violation are the following:

For a first time offense, a driver would receive a non-moving violation ticket with a $30 fine and court fees totaling about $108. No points would be awarded.

A second or subsequent offense within five years would get a driver a moving violation ticket with a $158 fine and three points on the license.

A violation that causes an accident will add six points to a license, and an offense committed in a school zone will add two additional points to a driver’s license.

It’s important to keep in mind that an officer would still need a warrant to search a driver’s phone in the event that someone is pulled over for texting while driving.

Texting while driving is an extremely dangerous act that puts the lives of the driver, passengers, and any other person around the vehicle in danger. One moment of distraction while behind the wheel can mean a serious injury or death for you or someone you love. If you are driving, it might be best to keep your phone away from sight in order to lessen the temptation to text. This simple act could save your life.

 

References:

Tavss, J. (2017, December 06). Texting and driving in Florida to be primary offense under new bill. Retrieved December 11, 2017, from https://www.local10.com/news/florida/texting-and-driving-in-florida-to-be-primary-offense-under-new-bill

Roustan, W. K. (2017, April 13). Florida second-worst state for distracted driving, study says. Retrieved December 11, 2017, from http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/transportation/fl-reg-florida-second-most-distracted-20170412-story.html