By now, most people know that distracted driving is dangerous. Anything that takes your attention off the road and your hands off the wheel, like using your mobile phone, can lead to a deadly accident.
In 2021, there were 56,736 distracted driving accidents in Florida. 2,729 of those accidents resulted in serious bodily injury, and 346 of them were fatal. Here’s what to know about the consequences of texting while driving.
Florida state law
Florida made texting while driving a primary offense in 2019. Florida Statute Section 316.305 states that law enforcement is allowed to stop vehicles and ticket them for drivers texting while driving. The law specifically states that drivers cannot drive while manually typing on a wireless device, whether you’re texting, emailing or instant messaging.
Section 316.06 prohibits drivers from using handheld phones or other wireless devices while driving in school and work zones (that is, construction zones where personnel are present and/or operating equipment on the road or near the work zone).
First offenses have a base $30 fine. A second offense within five years is a base $60 fine and three points against the drivers’ licenses. Any offense in a school or work zone has a base $60 fine and three points against the license.
Using your device in a hands-free manner is still legal, however. You can still use a Bluetooth headset or speakerphone setting to talk on the phone or dictate messages.
Accidents while texting and driving
If texting and driving causes an accident, the driver is likely to be held liable for any injuries and property damage as a result. Drivers have a duty to follow all traffic laws and avoid causing harm to others on the road. When they violate that duty and someone suffers injury as a result, they are considered negligent—and the plaintiff is entitled to recover damages for their medical expenses, lost wages and other expenses. It’s best to put the phone down and keep your eyes on the road at all times.
For more information about claims against distracted drivers, contact an experienced Sarasota, FL accident attorney at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh today.