Distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents across the nation. Distracted driving can take many forms, including taking your hands off the wheel, taking your eyes off the road or when your mind is not focused on driving.
Operating cell phones while driving is one of the most common types of distracted driving. It’s such a problem that Florida made texting and driving a primary offense: that is, law enforcement can now pull drivers over if they notice them using a cell phone and driving. Here’s what to know about the rules.
Cell phone usage while driving
The Florida statutes prohibit anyone from “manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data on such a device for the purpose of nonvoice interpersonal communication, including, but not limited to, communication methods known as texting, e-mailing, and instant messaging” while operating a motor vehicle.
There are certain exceptions. These rules only apply when your vehicle is in motion. Furthermore, you may use hands-free devices to make calls or send voice texts while driving, as long as you’re not manually typing. However, you may not use your phone at all—even to pick it up to check navigation apps—when you’re in a school or construction zone.
Law enforcement, emergency medical responders and firefighters actively engaged in their duties are exempt from this law. If you use your phone for reporting emergencies or crimes to the police, you are also exempt. There are other exceptions for navigation, receiving weather and emergency alerts and radio broadcasts.
Ultimately, it’s wise to remain strictly hands-free whenever you’re behind the wheel—and if you’re injured by someone texting and driving, call the dedicated Sarasota, FL personal injury attorneys at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh right away.