What does Florida law say about Texting and Driving?

April 12, 2017 by The Law Office of Travis Williams

Answer: In October 2013, Florida enacted a ban on texting while driving. Florida Statute 316.305 makes it unlawful for a person to operate a motor vehicle while manually typing into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data in such a device. This applies to such communications as texting, emailing and instant messaging.

Across Central Florida, fewer than 400 texting tickets have been issued since the inception of the law. Now, unfortunately we all know that just about everyone you pass on the road these days is looking down at their phone while driving. So why are there so few tickets being issued for this? This low number of tickets for texting while driving is because the law against it is known as a secondary offense. This means that even if an officer sees you texting, you can’t be stopped unless you’re also committing another violation like speeding or running a stop light. The penalty for texting while driving is a simple civil infraction similar to a seat belt violation. The law imposes no limitation on talking on your cell phone.

Despite such light legal consequences in this matter, we urge our clients and friends to avoid the temptation to allow your phone to distract from your driving. If a driver is going 55 mph and looks down at a text for just five seconds, the car has traveled the length of a football field. This seems to be the same as driving blind for 5 seconds. You are six times more likely to cause an accident texting while driving than driving while intoxicated, and nationwide we see 330,000 injuries per year attributed to drivers who are distracted from texting. Please use caution and drive safely.

If you have a question for Travis to answer in an upcoming issue of Your Legal Life Newsletter, please send it to us at francee@floridadefenselaw.com .

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *