Texting and driving has been a serious issue for Florida residents and law enforcement for nearly two decades. It is a dangerous activity and has been the cause of thousands of accidents in the State of Florida alone. In 2016, there were almost 50,000 crashes involving distracted driving which led to 3,500 serious injuries and 233 deaths (State Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles). The State of Florida has now enacted a new law which makes texting and driving illegal.
The new law went into effect on January 1st 2020 and indicates “Police now have the right to pull you over if you are found texting and driving while the car is in motion. It is still legal to talk on the phone (holding the phone to your ear) although not recommended. The first offense ticket amount is now $30.00 paid to the State while subsequent offenses will cost you $60.00 and 3 points tacked on to your driver’s license. You may say to yourself, “I’ll just pay the $30 or $60 if I get caught and continue texting and driving as usual” However the points on the license can cost you a significant amount of money in the long run. Remember, the insurance companies review your motor vehicle report every time they calculate a rate your car insurance policy. Multiple moving violations with attached points will cause the insurance companies to charge higher premiums for your policy. Too many points accumulated within 3 years will require you to obtain Florida SR22 car insurance.
A better alternative to texting and driving are the hands free Bluetooth devices available just about everywhere these days. Many vehicles now come from the factory with Bluetooth systems built right into the stereo speakers. If your vehicle is not Bluetooth equipped you could opt for purchasing a Bluetooth speaker that goes in your ear directly. Using these speakers is far safer than texting while driving and could end up saving lives.
If you do get pulled over for texting, you do not have to hand over your phone to the officer. It is the officer's duty to prove you were texting while driving, or they can get a court ordered subpoena. This protects the drivers against harassment from law enforcement.
In my opinion it is much safer to pull over somewhere to talk or text. There are enough distractions on the road already. The only type of driving more risky than being distracted is driving under the influence of alcohol. Florida was the first state to enact Florida FR44 insurance for DUI drivers while being one of the last States to enact a texting while driving law which will realize safer driving conditions for everybody. Please keep in mind if you need to talk or text, pull over first and avoid tickets, accidents, and overall dangerous driving behavior.
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