Texting while driving is now considered a primary offense in the state of Florida. This means that law enforcement officers will now be able to pull drivers over if they are seen texting while driving. Florida lawmakers have pushed to implement this law to reduce the number of car accidents caused by distracted drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017 distracted driving killed over 3,100 people. This new law comes into effect July 1st; however, officers will only be issuing warnings until it is fully enforced on January 1, 2020. After this date, police officers will start to issue citations for texting drivers. A first-time offender will receive a citation of $30.00. A second offender will receive a $60.00 citation plus three points on their driving record.
While the new Florida statute outlaws texting and driving, it does not prohibit all use of your cellular device. Drivers are still allowed to use GPS and other navigation systems behind the wheel. The exception to this rule is that drivers cannot hold their cellphone if they are driving in a construction zone with workers present or a school zone (even if it is for GPS purposes). This restriction will be implemented on October 1st, two months before the rest of the statute is completely enforced. Texting is also allowed if drivers are at a stoplight or any other traffic signal where the vehicle is not in motion. Although texting is allowed in some circumstances, if the driver inhibits the flow of traffic, they could still be pulled over and cited.
The safest option for drivers is to wait until you reach your destination to use your phone to text. Help keep the roads safe and yourself safe by not texting and driving.