Texting while driving will become a primary offense on July 1 with fines being assessed beginning on January 1, 2020.
Florida became one of the majority of states to make texting while driving a primary offense.
Prior to the new law, law enforcement could see you texting and driving, but could only pull drivers over if they violated another law. Law enforcement has stated that this method rarely works, even though texting may be one of the most frequent causes of driver distraction.
Driver distraction as a category includes eating, fiddling with the radio, talking to passengers or talking on the phone as well as texting. Texting seems to be one of the most dangerous distractions next to talking to passengers in the car.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says texting while driving causes more teen deaths per year than drunk driving. They also note that over 3,000 people per year from all age groups die each year due to texting while driving.
New Texting While Driving Rules
No Texting While in Motion
If you’re in motion and texting from the driver's seat, you can be ticketed under the new law. If you’re looking at Waze for directions or answering a phone call, you can’t be ticketed. If you’re at a stop light or not in motion, you are not in violation of the law.
School and Construction Zones Must Be Handsfree
The law gets much more restrictive in school zones and construction zones. In these areas, drivers can’t use their phones for any reasons—that means no phone calls, map reading or any other mobile device activity.
Fines For Violation
The first violation comes with a $30 fine plus court fees and costs. A second offense within 5 years incurs a $60 fine plus court fees and costs. The violation itself also leads to 3 points on your driving record.