Florida’s new distracted driving law, or texting while driving, goes into effect July 1, and law enforcement agencies across the state are preparing for how they will enforce it.
As far as enforcing the rule, a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s spokesperson said it will be done on a case-by-case basis.
The Sheriff’s Office said texting violations will be treated like any other primary offense traffic violation.
Deputies expect challenges from drivers trying to find loopholes around getting a citation, because they exist.
According to officials, drivers can still use their GPS, look at weather or traffic alerts, or call in an emergency.
Traffic judges might see more work as a result.
Pinellas County Sheriff’s officials said their enforcement will go through an education period. They’ll give out a warning the first time.
But drivers better make changes, because getting pulled over multiple times for texting while driving will end up in a ticket.
A hands-free requirement while driving in school and work zones goes into effect in October.
Citations will not be handed out for this violation until January 1, 2020.
This new law that makes texting while driving a primary offense as opposed to a secondary offense is meant to curb dangerous and deadly behavior while behind the wheel. Distracted driving accounts for more teen deaths than drunk driving, and kills 9 people of all ages every day across the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Car crashes in Florida rose by 11 percent from 2013 to 2016, but collisions caused by problems stemming from distracted driving, like drifting out of a lane, sideswiping another car or simply blowing through a stop sign, increased by 40-50 percent.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a distracted driving accident, our Florida Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can investigate your crash thoroughly and determine if the other driver involved in your accident was using their cellphone or otherwise driving while distracted. We will use this evidence to establish that the other driver was indeed at fault, which may result in a more favorable outcome when pursuing financial compensation.