Florida defines distracted driving as anything that takes your mind off the road, hands off the wheel, or your eyes away from the road. Since 2012, distracted driving crashes have increased by 25 percent.
- Reaching for a device
- Talking to passengers
- Eating or drinking
The law in Florida has no limitations on cell phones, but it does have a limited ban on text messaging. A driver cannot send, type, or read messages while driving. Yet, if a driver does perform any of these actions while driving, they can only be charged for a violation they have committed prior to texting.
A police officer can only give you a ticket and pull you over in the State of Florida if they have seen you commit another violation before text messaging. For example, if you were distracted and ran a stop sign, a police officer will pull you over for running a stop sign. They cannot pull you over for simply texting, but if you are caught texting when they pull you over, points will be added to your license.
Points for texting
- First offense has no points added to license
- If you are pulled over for a violation and are caught texting in a school zone, two points are added to your license
- If texting and driving results in a crash, six points are added to your license
For example, if you are speeding in a school zone while texting, and happen to get in an accident, eight points will be added to your license. It is a good idea to stay off the phone because a lot of points can be added at one time to your license. In fact, so many points can be added that you may just be a point or two from losing your license.
While driving through the State of Florida, you may see signs that remind you to pull into a safe area to use your cell phone. These are called “Safe Phone Zones.” This started in June of 2015 to help stop the problem of distracted driving.
Distracted driving crashes have steadily increased since 2012 in the State of Florida. Since then, the state has made stricter laws when it comes to using your cell phone while you are behind the wheel. Make sure to pull over to the side of the road if you do need to make a phone call or send a text.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Cell Phones and Texting: Distracted Driving Laws in Florida and was authored by Valerie Johnston.