On May 28, 2013, the Governor signed into law Florida’s new ban on texting while driving. This makes Florida the 41st state to impose some sort of ban on so called “texting and driving.” A violation of the texting law is a non-moving violation and can only be enforced as a secondary offense. Meaning that you must be pulled over for another reason other than texting. For example “careless driving.”
What Drivers Need to Know
A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering data
- A person may not operate a motor vehicle while sending or reading data for the purpose of non-voice communication.
- A motor vehicle that is stationary is not subject to the law. Like, for example, if you are stopped at a red light, or pulled over on the side of the road.
- The law is set to go into effect October 1st, 2013.
- The penalties include a $30 fine plus court costs for a first offense, or $60 plus court costs for a second offense.
- Violators will also be subject to six points off their license if there is a crash or two additional points if the primary moving violation occurred within a school zone.
- Weather alerts, radio broadcasts, navigation, initiation or deactivation of a feature.
- Reporting suspicious or criminal activities.
- Drivers performing official duties as operators of an authorized emergency vehicle are exempted.
This new law is a step in the right direction. Some critics, however, correctly point out that the legislature did not go far enough. Of particular concern are the various exceptions and the fact that the infraction is only a “secondary offense.” Only time will tell how effective this new ban will be in making our roads safer. A great deal will depend on how the law is enforced and how the judiciary interprets its various exceptions and other provisions.