Florida Texting and Driving Law

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Most Americans take their phones everywhere. As a society, we expect constant connectivity wherever we are. While wireless devices are undeniably convenient, they also present temptations.

Texting while driving is a top cause of car accidents, prompting most states to ban some forms of cell phone usage while driving. Our Orlando car accident attorneys at JustCallMoe can answer questions about the Florida texting and driving law.

What Is the Florida Texting and Driving Law?

Is texting and driving illegal in Florida? The Sunshine State’s Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law makes most hands-on uses of phones and other devices illegal while driving. If you are operating a moving vehicle, you cannot:

  • Manually type multiple characters in any messaging application
  • Read messages
  • Use earbuds, headphones, or headsets
  • Use Internet-based apps or conduct searches

If you are in an active construction or school zone, you can’t use your devices unless there is an emergency. Hands-free uses, including phone conversations, however, are legal. You can usually view GPS data, even while driving, as long as you aren’t holding your device. You can also use your devices manually while stopped in traffic. Certain emergency activities are permissible at any time.

What Qualifies as a Wireless Communications Device?

According to Florida’s texting and driving law, if the device allows you to conduct personal conversations, it’s a wireless communications device. These can include:

  • Phones
  • Tablets
  • Gaming systems
  • Laptops
  • Two-way messaging handsets

You can use these devices legally if you use voice-activated features via Bluetooth.

How Much Is a Texting and Driving Ticket in Florida?

Florida Statute 316.305 states the following penalties for texting and driving:

  • First offense: non-moving traffic violation, a base fine of $30, additional court costs, and other fees; no driver’s license points
  • Second offense within five years: moving traffic violation, a base fine of $60, additional court costs, and other fees; three driver’s license points
  • Any hands-on offense in work or school zones: moving traffic violation, a base fine of $60, additional court costs, and other fees; three driver’s license points

First offenders can take a safety course and show proof that they purchased hands-free devices to avoid driver’s license points and citation fines.

Florida’s Put It Down: Focus on Driving campaign reinforces the dangers of texting while driving and the penalties for doing so.

How Does Distracted Driving Impact Road Safety?

Would you drive for five seconds in heavy traffic with your eyes closed? Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for that long. At 55 miles per hour, your car can travel the length of a football field, and a lot can happen in that distance.

Safe driving requires your eyes on the road, your mind focused on the act of driving, and your hands on the wheel. Texting violates all of these requirements.

Any form of distracted driving can:

  • Delay reaction times
  • Cause erratic driving paths or lane shifts
  • Create unsteady speeds
  • Cause accidents

Other vehicles may need to react to these unpredictable behaviors, potentially causing a collision indirectly attributed to the distracted driver. Florida’s texting and driving law aims to protect everyone sharing the roads.

In 2022, distracted driving contributed to thousands of car crashes in Florida, with 9,015 related to electronic communication devices. Other electronic devices caused 2,926 accidents.

How Can You Prevent Distracted Driving?

If something may present a distraction, try to avoid it. There are three types of distractions: cognitive, visual, and manual. While driving, you should not:

  • Use wireless communications devices as outlined in Florida’s laws
  • Eat, drink, or smoke
  • Allow interactions with passengers to distract you from driving
  • Daydream
  • Search for objects in your vehicle
  • Unless you need your phone or other device for navigation, put it away until you stop.

Why Should You Speak With a Winter Haven Lawyer if You Were in a Texting and Driving Car Accident?

Injuries sustained in texting and driving accidents are often serious, necessitating medical treatments and time away from work during recovery. These injuries can also affect your quality of life.

While medical bills mount, income ceases. You deserve compensation, and the attorneys at JustCallMoe can help you get it. Contact us today to request your free consultation or more information about how the Florida texting and driving law affects you. Call us directly, reach out via live text, or submit our form. Our attorneys are available 24/7 to assist you.

Texting and Driving Ban FAQs

Is texting while driving a primary offense in Florida?

Law enforcement officers can stop drivers suspected of texting while driving without any other cause, making texting and driving a primary offense in Florida.

Can officers search your phone?

Unless you give permission, law enforcement officers cannot search your phone unless they have a search warrant. However, they can still issue a citation.

Why can’t you use headphones or earbuds while driving?

If you can’t hear traffic sounds, you may not realize that cars are honking or slamming on brakes. According to the Florida texting and driving law, you can use these devices as long as they cover only one ear, leaving the other available to process traffic noises.

Is using hands-free technologies safe?

Using voice activation eliminates using your hands to operate a device manually, but this option can still take your cognitive focus away from driving. Although it may be safer than hands-on operation, hands-free solutions are not necessarily safe.

Can you contest a texting and driving citation?

You can contest your citation, as it is a non-criminal offense. If you lose, you will need to pay fines and can expect to see points added to your driver’s license.

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