June 4, 2013
Even if you think you’re skilled enough to text message and drive at the same time — you might want to put the phone down.
According to FOX Business, Florida Governor Rick Scott recently signed Senate Bill 52, putting a ban on text messaging drivers in moving vehicles.
Although lawmakers have been working for 5 years to get this kind of law to the governor’s desk, many are arguing that it’s not strong enough to make any difference.
Our Boca Raton car accident lawyers understand that this law was signed as a secondary offense. What this means is that a driver first has to be witnessed breaking another road law, like running a red light or speeding, before he can be pulled over by an officer and ticketed for texting behind the wheel. Another loophole that might keep drivers texting, despite the new law, is the fact that you can still text when the car is at a stop. This means that many may still engage in these activities while stopped at a red light. So don’t expect the driver in front of you to be ready to go when the light turns green if they’re in the middle of a text.
Others are saying that this is a law that’s going to be difficult to enforce. How is an officer going to know if you were dialing a phone number to call (legal) or composing a text message to send (illegal). The only way officials could determine the difference is by looking through your phone — and they’re not allowed to do that. The only time an officer can look through your phone is when they obtain your phone records — and that can only be done after an accident when injury or death has resulted from your dangerous habits behind the wheel.
But drivers can still take their eyes off the road for other devices, unfortunately. Have a GPS device in your vehicle? You can still use it. You can also obtain safety-related information, like for emergencies, traffic or weather alerts. You’re also able to conduct interpersonal communication as long as it doesn’t require you to manually use your device as you drive down the road. Just remember, devices of all kinds take your cognitive attention off the road and significantly increase your risks for an accident.
If you’re busted text messaging behind the wheel, you’re looking at a $30 fine. This isn’t going to put any points on your license though, as it’s considered a non-moving violation. It isn’t until the second offense that you’re going to get 3 points on your license and a $60 fine. The second offense is a moving violation, which means that insurance providers are likely to hike your rates. And rate hikes with your car insurer are likely to last at least three years.
The law does not take effect until the 1st of October.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a traffic accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at 888-751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.