Last summer, Florida made texting and driving a primary offense. Previously, state motorists could receive a distracted driving ticket only if a law enforcement officer stopped them for a different primary offense.
Learn about texting and driving laws in Florida to avoid a serious auto accident.
Provisions of the law
Florida prohibits motorists from entering text into their phones and sending or receiving emails and instant messages while driving. Drivers can use handheld devices to make calls and enter voice commands, except in school and work zones.
Drivers can use smartphones and other electronic devices to navigate, report an emergency situation, receive information in an emergency or perform official duties as a first responder. The distracting driving law does not apply to individuals operating vehicles that are completely autonomous.
Penalties for distracted driving
Texting and driving in Florida results in $30 in fines for the first offense and $60 for the second offense, plus court costs. Drivers whose offense occurred in a work or school zone may receive elevated fines.
A second texting and driving offense also results in three driver’s license points. Florida motorists who get 12 points in a year lose their driving privileges for 30 days.
When a person suffers a serious injury in an auto accident, he or she can seek financial compensation if the other driver was texting or otherwise distracted at the time of the crash. You must file this type of claim within four years of the accident. Because Florida is a no-fault state, only certain injuries qualify for a legal claim.