As of January 1, texting while driving is officially illegal in the state of Florida.
Texting while driving is now considered a primary offense, meaning police officers can pull drivers over for the behavior, or for suspecting the behavior. A first-time offense is a $30 fine, with second-time offenders receiving a $60 fine and three points off their driver’s license.
First-time offenders can get out of the fine if they provide proof of purchase of a hands-free Bluetooth device and also complete a driver’s safety course. The state also encourages people to use hands-free devices whenever possible. Many recent models of vehicles include Bluetooth functionality built into their dash computer systems.
Drivers are still allowed to use their mobile devices to place calls, use their navigational systems and read emergency messages, unless they are passing through a construction or school zone.
Texting while driving an inherently dangerous activity
Texting while driving is particularly problematic among young adults, but is dangerous for anyone of any age. Just a few seconds of looking down at a phone while driving at an average highway speed limit is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
Numerous studies have been performed to link texting while driving to increased incidence of accidents. In fact, texting while driving is now considered to be the most dangerous form of distracted driving because it involves manual, visual and mental distractions. There are those who liken the danger of texting while driving to driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
For more information about what steps you can take if you’ve been injured in an accident caused by someone who was texting while driving, contact an experienced Bradenton, FL auto accident attorney at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez & Walsh.