These days everyone has a cell phone. We'll spare you the details on how functional your cell phone is. The allure of staying connected has seeped into every corner of our lives. The consequences can be catastrophic when we act on that impulse while behind the wheel. Florida is ranked 14th on the list of the worst states for distracted driving - tallying 514 deaths.
Florida has responded to this dangerous driving behavior by implementing new texting and driving laws. Be sure to be safe on the road and not get caught with your phone in your hand. This blog will highlight the new regulations to encourage you and me to stay vigilant and remember to leave the cell phone elsewhere while seated behind the wheel.
We'll explore the new laws along with their nuances and impact. We'll even briefly discuss other forms of distracted driving to keep us aware. With your new armor of knowledge, join us in the fight to cultivate a safer world for everyone while taking on any road.
The first question we must ask is to understand what distracted driving is. In short - it's anytime your attention gets pulled away toward anything other than your car and the road. Who hasn't heard "Keep your eyes on the road, both hands on the wheel." In this article, we'll cover Florida driving laws, and you'll learn some tips on how to stay proactive in your awareness of distracted driving.
Florida has implemented a multifaceted approach to addressing the perils of texting while driving. In 2019, the state legislature enacted the Wireless Communications While Driving Law, ending this dangerous habit. The law made texting a primary offense, meaning law enforcement officers can pull over drivers solely for that violation.
This law prohibits an individual from manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into any wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle. Devices include texting, emailing, and instant messaging. However, the law does allow voice-operated systems for when the car is stationary, for example, at a red light.
What are the Consequences?
Penalties for Florida's texting and driving laws differ based on the circumstance. Fines vary from first-offense non criminal traffic infractions from $30 to subsequent offenses within five years, up to over $60 with points added to the driver's license. In addition, if texting while driving leads to a crash, it will be considered a primary offense and result in six points on the driver's license.
Enforcement of these laws falls under the job of law enforcement officers.
Officers' task is to identify and pull over drivers who are visibly engaging in texting while operating a vehicle. A visual challenge in many ways, enforcement requires officers to observe the behavior firsthand.
Staying Focused While Driving
Here are some quick tips for being more aware of distracted driving.
- Put Your Phone Away: The most common distraction is using your phone. Store your phone in a place you can't access while driving, such as your glove compartment!
- Use "Do Not Disturb" Mode: Silence everything by activating "Do Not Disturb" mode on your phone before you start driving.
- Plan Ahead: Adjust your GPS, music, and other settings before you start your drive. No fiddling on the road!
- Designate a Navigator: Let a passenger handle navigation and music if you're driving with others.
- Avoid Multitasking: Driving requires your full attention. Avoid eating, grooming, or engaging in any activity that takes your focus away from the road.
- Secure Pets and Belongings: Make sure your pets and any loose items are safely secured before you start driving. Unrestrained pets or moving objects can be distracting if they move around in the vehicle.
- Take Breaks: Long journeys can be tiring. Tired driving is very distracting. Remember to take breaks when needed.
- Use Voice Commands: If your vehicle has voice commands, it is an excellent tool for making calls, sending texts, and changing music.
- Stay Organized: Keep your car organized and clutter-free. It reduces the likelihood of needing to search for items while driving.
- Pull Over Safely: If you need to attend to a call or text, find a safe place to pull over before doing so. Make sure you come to a complete stop and remove yourself from the way of traffic.
- Limit Emotional Conversations: Avoid engaging in emotionally charged conversations while driving. Keep it cool while en route. These conversations can divert your focus from the road.
- Set a Good Example: If you have teenage drivers or passengers, demonstrate responsible behavior by avoiding distractions and being attentive to the road.
- Use Apps for Safety: Use various apps to automate texting, calling, and more. Going hands-free allows you to stay aware while driving and connected simultaneously.
- Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with the latest laws and regulations related to distracted driving in your area. Understanding the consequences can be a solid motivator to stay focused on the road.
Remember, every second you are not scanning the road increases the risk of an accident. By following these safety tips and committing to distraction-free driving, you're protecting and ensuring the safety of yourself and your loved ones!
Coker Law Attorneys are ready to fight for your best interest if you're in an accident. Contact us for our experienced team that consistently produces maximum results for our clients.