There is talk that there will be changes in the text and driving laws. Florida still has some of the weaker laws pertaining to texting and now they are looking to strengthen those laws. It is hopeful that during the 2016 Legislative Session, a law will be passed where drivers could get pulled over and cited for texting and driving. Currently, Florida allows law enforcement to issue a citation for texting only if the driver was pulled over for another traffic offense. The new law would make texting a primary offense, allowing law enforcement to stop drivers and issue a citation even if they haven’t committed another offense. The bill does not apply when a car is stopped or if drivers are using their phone to access their GPS or to receive safety-related messages, such as traffic and weather alerts. The Senator who is sponsoring the bill said he filed the bill with young drivers in mind because they are more likely to get into a car accident.
Florida is one of a few states where texting and driving is a secondary offense and critics say that pre-empts law enforcement from cracking down on violators. More than 3,100 drivers have received citations for texting and driving in Florida from October 2013 to September, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The Senator’s bill keeps the current base fine, which is $30 for a first offense. Drivers pay up to $60 for a second offense while also getting three points added to their driving record. The final amount violators pay varies by county.
More than 100,000 crashes nationwide involve texting each year, according to the National Safety Council. Driver distraction was the cause of 18 percent of all fatal crashes in 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident as a result of distracted driving, contact us at Brannon & Brannon (850)659-2252 for a free consultation.