Gov. Rick Scott has made it official: texting and driving is now illegal in the state of Florida.
On Tuesday, May 28, Scott traveled to Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Senior High School in Miami, where a press conference was held to sign a bill passed by the Florida Legislature that bans texting while driving.
Florida joins 39 other states in supporting what is known often as Distracted Driving laws. Washington was the first state to issue a texting while driving ban in 2007, and has since been joined by other states in recent years, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
For most states, the bans are a primary enforcement offense, which means highway law enforcement patrols can pull a motorist over simply for texting while driving. However, in Florida, texting while driving is a secondary offense, meaning an officer cannot stop a motorist just for texting while driving. In Florida, texting while driving is classified as a nonmoving violation, with a fine of $30.
The Florida law prohibits any person from manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols or other characters into a wireless communications device while behind the wheel of a car. This includes sending text messages, emailing and instant messaging through smart phones.
Scott announced that he is deeply concerned about the number of motorist’s texting while driving. This concern is what prompted him to get the bill signed before the busy summer driving season begins.
The measure was co-sponsored Sen. Nancy C. Detert, R-Venice, and State Rep. Doug Holder, R-Osprey.
While a first offense only carries a $30 fine, additional texting violations within five years will result in a double fine and an additional three points against a driver’s license. A driver who accrues 12 points in a year would face a 30-day suspension of their license.
Distracted driving causes numerous Florida auto accidents every year. In fact, in 2012, a whopping 4,850 car crashes in Florida were caused by distracted motorists using electronic communication devices, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The likelihood of an accident occurring is 23 times greater when a driver is texting behind the wheel of a car.
Distracted driving can cause horrific collisions that result in serious personal injuries or even wrongful death. If you have suffered an injury, or if you have lost someone close to you, in an auto accident caused by a distracted driver, you are entitled to recover financial compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering and economic losses. The physical and emotional pain that results from these types of accidents can affect not only your health, but your quality of life as well as your finances. A Florida Auto Accident Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help you through this difficult time and make sure you receive full and fair compensation for your losses. Contact us today online or call us statewide and toll-free at 866-608-5529 to receive a complimentary consultation regarding your auto accident claim.