Distracted Driving: You Text, You Drive, You Get Pulled Over in Fort Pierce
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there were almost 50,000 crashes involving distracted driving in Florida in 2016. These distracted driving crashes cause serious injuries and death across the state. Now, as of July 1, 2019, talking and texting, a form of distracted driving, is a primary offense in Fort Pierce.
Florida’s Distracted Driving Law – No Texting While Driving
The distracted driving law is cited as the “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law.” The intention of the new law is to improve roadway safety for all vehicle operators, passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and other road users by preventing crashes related to the act of text messaging while driving. It seeks to reduce injuries, deaths, property damage, health care costs and insurance rates – both medical and automobile.
Texting and driving is now a primary offense in the State of Florida. According to Florida Statute 316.305(3)(a):
A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data on such device for the purpose of non-voice interpersonal communication.
A wireless communications device is any handheld device that allows you to:
- Receive or transmit text or character-based messages
- Access or store data
- Connect to the internet or any communications service
Law enforcement is taking action to pull over and cite drivers for texting and driving. As Martin County Sheriff pointed out in a Treasure Coast.com news article, deputies will allow for a short grace period, where they will offer warnings prior to issuing tickets.
This grace period will run through December 31, 2019, to educate drivers on the new law, but law enforcement may give someone a ticket in an extreme circumstance, according to FLHSMV. Below is a list of the consequences for texting while driving in Fort Pierce:
- $30 fine for first offense
- $60 fine and 3 points added to the driver’s record for the second offense
Distracted Driving in School Zones and Active Work Zones Will Be Illegal Oct 1
Beginning October 1, 2019, cell phones can only be used in hands-free mode while driving through school crossings, school zones, or active work zones. Law enforcement will issue warnings through December 31, 2019, and on January 1, 2020, drivers will receive a citation for non-compliance.
Common Distracted Driving Injuries
Distracted driving injuries are more common than DUIs, according to a Central Florida ER doctor. Distracted driving can leave victims with severe, life-changing injuries including, but not limited to, the following:
- Broken limbs
- Brain injuries
- Neck and back injuries
Martin County alone had 313 distracted driving accidents in 2018, with 6 incapacitating injuries. St. Lucie County had the most distracted driving accidents on the Treasure Coast, according to a Hometown News Treasure Coast report. Distracted driving is preventable. Make sure you keep yourself and other members of the Fort Pierce and Treasure Coast family safe by putting the phone down and focusing on the road.
Were You or a Loved One Injured by Distracted Driver in Fort Pierce? Call Sholtes Law, the Fort Pierce Distracted Driving Accident Attorney.
If you or a loved one was involved in a distracted driving accident, contact Andrew Sholtes with Sholtes Law, PLLC. Mr. Sholtes is an experienced Fort Pierce personal injury lawyer serving the St. Lucie & Martin County with professional and personalized representation. Call 855-534-2509 for a free case analysis.