The driving laws related to cell phone usage in the state of Florida are somewhat lax compared to other areas in the U.S. While it is legal to use the phone while driving, you still have to ask yourself whether or not this is something you should do. After all, you have likely seen other drivers with their phones stuck to their ears, trying to change lanes and swerving hear and there. The fact is, doing this simply isn’t safe. One of the top causes of accidents in the state of Florida is distracted drivers.
Distracted Driving Laws in Florida
The state of Florida has defined distracted driving as anything that is going to take your mind off of the road, eyes away from the road or hands off the wheel. Since 2012, the number of distracted driving accidents have increased by more than 25 percent.
Distractions include the following:
- Using the phone
- Reaching for a device
- Eating or drinking
- Talking to others in the vehicle
While the law in Florida has not put limitations on the use of cell phones while driving, there is a limited ban on text messaging. According to the law, drivers are now permitted to read, type or send texts while they are behind the wheel. However, if they do any of these actions while driving, they may be charged with a violation they committed before texting.
When Do the Driving Laws State You Can Receive a Ticket for Using a Device Behind the Wheel?
The police are only able to pull you over and give you a ticket in Florida if they witnessed you commit some other type of violation prior to texting. An example of this would be if you were distracted and happened to run a stop sign. The police officer is able to pull you over for running the stop sign, but not just for texting. However, if you are caught texting when you are pulled over, then points are going to be added to your license for this action.
Points for Texting According to Florida’s Driving Laws
The point schedule for texting and driving are as follows:
- First offense: No points will be added to your license
- School zone: If you are pulled over for any type of violation and have been caught texting while you are in a designated school zone, then two points are going to be added to your license.
- Texting resulting in a crash: If the incident results in an accident then you are going to have six points added to your driver’s license.
For example, if a police officer pulls you over for speeding in a school zone, while you are texting, and you are involved in an accident, then you will have a total of eight points applied to your license. It is a good idea to keep from being on your phone, because you can accumulate quite a few points for these situations.
How Florida Helps You Avoid Breaking these Important Driving Laws
When you are driving through the state, you may begin to see signs that remind you to pull into a safe location for you to use your phone. There are areas that are referred to as “Safe Phone Zones,” which were started in June of 2015 to help prevent cases of distracted driving.