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Bagen Law Blog

The Reality of Florida's Texting and Driving Law

Posted by Steven A. Bagen

Feb 7, 2014 12:30:00 PM

We are now five months into Florida’s texting and driving law, but just how effective is it? Many Floridian motorists are still unaware of what the law’s details are. Many drivers do not take the law seriously. Since we still see accidents on our daily commutes, it is questionable whether or not the ban on texting has truly made a difference in our state. The lawyers at Steven A. Bagen & Associates are here to help you understand the current guidelines and future possibilities of Florida’s texting and driving law.


Details of the Law

On October 1, 2013, Florida became the 40th state to pass the ban on texting and driving. In 37 states, texting and driving is a primary offense but Florida is not one of those states. For us, this is only a secondary offense. This means a driver has to be stopped for a separate traffic violation before a texting and driving violation can be issued. Drivers cannot be pulled over for solely texting and driving. There are exemptions to receiving the $30 ticket. The law does not prohibit all cell phone use while driving. Therefore, devices can still be used for phone calls, voice talk-to-text functions, GPS navigation and music. Texting is still permitted as long as the car is not in motion. For instance, it is legal to text if a driver is sitting at a red light or in a rush hour traffic jam.

The Driving Force Behind the Law

The statistics backing the texting and driving law are jarring. Surveys and studies constantly show the same results: distracted drivers are dangerous drivers. Why are these drivers distracted?

  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 25 percent of car crashes are caused by cell phone use.
  • In a survey conducted by AAA in 2012, two-thirds of participants admitted to texting while driving.  
  • In Florida, 4,500 car accidents in 2012 were linked to cell phone and electronic device usage.
  • 255 of those 4,500 accidents were proven to be caused by texting. 

Issues with the Law

Critics are not vocalizing their disappointment in the law itself, but rather in the enforcement and implementation of it. There are many issues with the law that critics are calling attention to.

  • Drivers will always be distracted unless all cell phone use is prohibited.
  • It should be a primary offense. With the ban being a secondary offense, it is nearly impossible to carry out
  • The fine is only $30. A higher fine would encourage drivers to put their phones down.
  • In the event of an accident, police can only confiscate phone records if someone is killed or seriously injured. In a minor accident, this information cannot be obtained.

The Future of the Law

It’s true that something is better than nothing. Advocates and critics alike are happy to see anything being done to prevent texting and driving. Now that the law has been enacted, amendments can be made to better enforce it. If the following bills are passed, changes to the law may be seen at the end of this year.

  • HB 539 – Texting and driving would become a primary offense
  • HB 645 – Prohibits all drivers from using cell phones in school zones

How We Can Help

At Steven A. Bagen & Associates, we fight for victims of any type of car or motorcycle accidents. Whether you sustained minor or serious injuries from your accident, you deserve an experienced defense team to support you. Our office is located in Gainesville but we serve all of North and Central Florida. Don’t rely on the insurance adjusters and don’t handle this alone. Call Steven A. Bagen & Associates today for a free case evaluation

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Topics: Driving and Texting