Using Cell Phones While Driving

On any given day, it is easy to spot the driver who is texting. They are staring straight down instead of ahead, and may jerk their head up every so often to catch sight of the road. These drivers are distracted and dangerous. They may run red lights, drift out of their lane, or fail to stop when the car in front of them does. If you have been involved in an accident with a driver who was texting, contact an aggressive Tampa car accident attorney at Pallegar Law, P.A. today.

Is Texting While Driving Illegal?

In the state of Florida it is not illegal to talk on your cell phone while driving, unless you are a commercial truck driver. However, in October 2013 a law was passed prohibiting texting while operating a vehicle. The text of the law reads: “A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data in such a device for the purpose of nonvoice interpersonal communication, including, but not limited to, communication methods known as texting, e-mailing, and instant messaging” (FL Statute 316.305). Essentially, the law prohibits any kind of action that involves typing or reading while driving.

Can You Be Pulled Over for Texting and Driving?

While the law is clear on the legality of texting while driving, the crime is classified as a secondary offense. This means that you cannot be pulled over for simply texting while driving. For example, Person A runs a red light and is visibly texting, and they are pulled over. They can receive a ticket for the texting offense only because there was also a primary offense (running a red light). Points can be added to your driving record if you are involved in an accident while texting and driving. Fines for these kinds of tickets range from $30-$60.

The legislation has received considerable backlash from those who think it’s too lenient. Unless the driver commits some traffic violation, it is possible for them to continue texting and driving forever. This can lead to a serious car accident that could have been easily avoided.

For your own safety, try to keep cell phone usage while driving to a minimum. Purchase a hands-free device if possible, or just wait until you arrive at your destination. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident due to texting-related negligence, contact an experienced Tampa car accident attorney at Pallegar Law, P.A.

The Future of Texting and Driving

As of August 2017, State Representative Emily Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, has been lobbying in Tallahassee and across the state for stricter laws on texting while driving. She plans to submit a bill – one of many that have been proposed over the years – that will make texting while driving a primary offense instead of a secondary offense. Her actions have stirred up controversy, with some worrying that making texting a primary offense will lead to an increase in unfair stops. Black legislators like Sen. Perry Thurston, D- Ft. Lauderdale, fear that racial profiling may lead to more black people being unfairly pulled over.

Call Pallegar Law, P.A. Today

If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident due to texting, contact a knowledgeable Tampa car accident attorney today. Call Pallegar Law, P.A. at 813-444-3912.

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