Florida’s Texting and Driving Law
For many Floridians, driving a car is such a basic fact of life that it is often taken for granted. In addition, text messaging has become a basic fact of life for many if not most cellphone users. As is the case in every state, driving is a legally regulated activity. It is important for Florida drivers to be informed about current driving laws and regulations, including those that apply to texting and driving. For specific information about any of Florida’s driving laws and regulations, contact Sholtes Law, PLLC.
The state of Florida imposes requirements and rules, along with some restrictions, that apply to texting and driving. Florida’s Ban on Texting While Driving Law applies generally to drivers operating motor vehicles. Another provision of Florida law applies to texting and driving while in school and work zones. Both of these laws were enacted by the Florida legislature in order to improve road safety, prevent crashes, and reduce accidents that cause property damage and injury.
The Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law
One Florida law that governs texting and driving is called the Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law. Under this law, a person may not drive while:
- typing or entering data into a cellphone
- sending or reading data on a cellphone
Examples of conduct that is prohibited under this law are:
- instant messaging
Currently, the Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law authorizes law enforcement officers to stop motor vehicles and issue citations to persons who are texting while driving. A prior version of the law only allowed citations to be issued as a secondary offense, which meant that citations could be issued only if the driver was pulled over for another offense.
Generally, the law does allow drivers to use wireless communication devices if they are not typing, entering, or reading data. Also, if a motor vehicle is stationary, it is not considered as being operated and is not subject to this law.
Florida Law Prohibiting Use of Wireless Communication Devices in a Handheld Manner in School or Work Zones
There is a separate provision of Florida law that applies to texting in school zones and work zones. Effective January 1, 2020, a driver may be stopped and issued a citation for violating this law.
Fla. Stat. 316.306 applies to using a cellphone in a handheld manner in the following areas:
- designated school crossings
- school zones
- certain work zones where construction workers are present or operating construction equipment
As is the case with Florida’s Ban on Texting Law, if a vehicle is stationary, it is not considered as being operated for purposes of this law, and is not subject to its provisions.
There are exceptions to this law, which allow for the use of cellphones in school or work zones for limited purposes. These exceptions include:
- using a cellphone hands free (or hands free in voice operated mode, including using a cellphone with a Bluetooth device).
- using a cellphone hands free for navigation purposes
- receiving messages related to the vehicle’s operation, navigation, or safety
- reporting an emergency
If you would like to know more about Florida’s texting and driving laws, or if you are involved in an accident that involved a driver who was texting while driving and want to discuss your legal rights, contact a Fort Pierce car accident lawyer serving St. Lucie and Martin County at Sholtes Law, PLLC.