Different states have laws about using cell phones while driving, which are always changing. In the case of Florida, as of October 1, 2019, Florida law prohibits all drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving. Using hands-free devices is still permitted, but only if the driver is not engaged in other activities that could distract them from driving.
This means that drivers cannot use their cell phones to make calls, send texts, or use apps while driving, even using a hands-free device. The only exception is if the driver uses their cell phone to report an emergency.
Let’s learn more about this today to fully understand what happens in these instances.
This Law Just Recently Got Changed Again
The 2021 Florida ban on texting while driving makes it illegal to text, email, or perform any other type of direct messaging while driving.
If law enforcement sees you texting while driving, they may stop you and give you a ticket for a non-criminal traffic violation. However, law enforcement can only get a warrant for your cell phone records if texting while driving caused an accident that led to someone’s death or injury.
Even though it’s against the law to text and drive in Florida, drivers are still allowed to use their mobile devices for other things, like using GPS or navigation apps or reading emergency notifications like weather alerts.
Upgrade to Primary Offense
In the past, using a phone while driving in Florida was only a secondary offense. If an officer pulled you over for another reason, you could be issued a citation for texting while driving. In short, if an officer sees a driver who appears to be texting or using their mobile device, the officer can pull the driver over without first witnessing a traffic violation.
Consequences of Using a Mobile Device While behind the Wheel
If caught texting or using your phone while driving in Florida, you will be fined $30 for your first offense. On the second offense, you will be fined $60, have to appear in court, and get three marks against your driver’s license.
You may be sued for personal injury if you use your cell phone and cause a car accident resulting in injuries or damage. The consequences of such a lawsuit can be costly and far-reaching, depending on the severity of the injuries or damage.
While you can talk on the phone (hands-free) while driving if you get into an accident, the police may say it was your fault for being distracted.
If you are involved in an accident, the court may request your phone records to help determine who is at fault.
When Is Phone Use While Driving Legal?
In many places, talking on the phone while driving is against the law, and you can be fined or ticketed for doing so. This means that drivers in these areas need to be extra careful to avoid accidents, namely:
- School crossings and zones.
- Active work areas.
The consequences for talking on the phone while behind the wheel in the above locations is immediately equivalent to a second offense texting citation. This includes a minimum fine of $60, court costs, and three marks against the license.
Stand Up for Your Rights With Avard Law
Now you can avoid these incidents and penalties by carefully observing recent state law revisions. However, if you are in the gray, reach out to Avard Law today! Our offices specialize in key practice areas such as vehicular or motor accidents, worker’s compensation, and work injuries. You are well-represented and can make your case, especially if you weren’t in the wrong! Visit our website and let us help you!