The law enforcement wing in Florida has taken a drastic and more radical step towards curbing the use of cell phones while driving. Effective October 1, 2019, law enforcement officials were legally allowed to pull drivers over for using phones at specific areas while driving. This included areas like a school zone or a school crossing, or even an active work zone.
The idea is simple. You cannot be holding a phone in your hand while driving. That includes forbidding texting actions as well. The best you can do is talk on a handheld device while at the wheel.
Consequences of Texting and Driving In Florida
The first instance that you are pulled over for holding a cell phone in your hand, you will be simply issued a warning. In fact, warnings were the only thing issued up to the 1st of January 2020. After that, for the first offense you commit, you can be ordered to pay a fine of $30 and have points added to your driver’s license.
Beyond that, all such instances of texting and driving are treated much more strictly. What comes next is a moving violation with a fee of $60. This does not include the court fees. Along with that, three points are charged on the driver’s license of the offender.
The time period between October 2019 and January 2020 was allocated to drivers to work towards changing their driving behavior. After this phase, no such offenders will be forgiven.
Using hands-free devices for cell phone use is also not free of risk. In fact, research indicates that the mental distractions caused by the use of voice-based technology can linger on for about 27 seconds even after use has stopped.
Texting and Driving Law FAQs
- How much texting is allowed while driving?
No texting or use of cell phones is tolerated based on this law. This means the driver cannot reply to text messages, email messages, or even do a Google Search.
- Is texting allowed at a red light signal?
Technically, yes. You are not really breaking the law if you hold the phone in your hand while the vehicle is stationary at the signal. However, once the signal turns green and the car starts moving and you quickly finish your text, you are again breaking the law.
- Is it okay to use navigation software and maps?
Yes. Handling vehicle navigation on the phone is legally allowed. Any other similar software that transfer safety or navigation information between the maps and your phone can be used while driving.
- Can the police confiscate the driver’s phone to check their immediate texting activities?
The police cannot take charge of your phone without a warrant. This prevents them from personally checking your phone. Unless this is approved by the driver, the police cannot keep your phones.
Contact an Experienced Florida Attorney Today
To understand these laws in detail, and to seek guidance on any such related incidents, contact us today. The Orlando criminal defense attorneys at O’Mara Law Group can help you understand these new laws and may be able to lessen your penalties if you have already been charged with a violation. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.