Did you know? Typing on a phone while driving – and in some cases, simply holding your phone while driving – is a primary offense in Florida. As of July 2019, it is illegal to type on your phone while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle, reports Florida Today.
Distracted driving can lead to life-altering consequences. Keep reading to understand Florida’s distracted driving laws, and what you can do if you are injured because of a distracted driver.
What Does Florida Law Say About Using Cell Phones While Driving?
Florida’s distracted driving laws prohibit all motorists from text messaging while operating a vehicle and using a cell phone for any purpose in certain locations, according to DrivingLaws. Florida’s distracted driving law prohibits all motorists from using a wireless communication device to write, send, or read a text message, including instant messages and email. A “wireless communication device” includes all cell phones, tablets, and similar devices that are capable of text-based communications or connecting to the Internet.
Florida law prohibits using a handheld “wireless communication device” while operating a vehicle in any school zone, school crossing, or work zone. The definition of a wireless communication device is broad and includes cell phones, tablets, laptops, and similar devices. This means that while you are driving through a school zone, school crossing, or construction zone, you are not permitted to hold your phone and drive for any purposes – including talking on the phone or accessing a GPS. Your phone must be in hands-free mode when driving in these locations.
There are some exceptions to Florida’s distracted driving laws. The law doesn’t apply to:
- hands-free or voice-operated device use
- to emergency services personnel (including medical professionals and police) performing official duties
- anyone using a device to report an emergency or criminal activity
- receiving navigation or safety-related information (like weather or traffic alerts) or radio broadcasts, or
- using a device for navigation purposes (GPS) (must be in hands-free mode if in construction or school zones).
- Sending a text or typing on your phone while fully stopped at a red light.
The distracted driving restrictions don’t apply when a person is in a vehicle that’s in autonomous driving mode, says DrivingLaws.
Penalties for Breaking Distracted Driving Laws in Florida
Penalties include $30 and a point off your license the first time, and $60 and three points if you’re caught again within five years, says the Sun Sentinel. However, it’s important to note that ticket prices can increase depending on circumstances and additional offenses.
Who Pays for Injuries and Damages Resulting from Distracted Driving?
Insurance and liability cover some court-awarded damages. But injury victims can sue distracted drivers for additional compensation to account for medical bills, repairs, and pain and suffering.
In the event of an accident, personal injury attorneys are necessary to navigate through the many court actions involving car accidents and distracted driving to measure the degree of negligence that contributed to a car accident. Whether you are seeking compensation for an injury or trying to defend your actions in a personal injury case, negligence will be the topic of discussion.
What is Considered Negligence in Florida?
Florida follows a “pure comparative negligence rule” in cases like these. Under this rule, the amount of compensation (“damages”) you’re entitled to receive will be reduced by an amount that is equal to your percentage of fault for the accident, says AllLaw. If a driver is responsible for any part of the activities that led to injury, the compensation will be adjusted in accordance with a percentage of fault assigned to each driver. If the accident was caused due to breaking distracted driving laws, the percentage of fault may be reflected in the compensation for the car accident case, including property and bodily injuries.
Your Rights if You Are Injured Because of Illegal Cell Phone Use
While the new Florida laws do help decrease car accidents and pedestrian/cyclist injuries, many accidents still happen as a result of distracted drivers using cell phones and other devices illegally while driving. If you have been injured or your loved one has been injured because of careless, distracted, or reckless driving, it’s time to get the justice you deserve! Injuries from car accidents can lead to a lifetime of medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You need an aggressive personal injury attorney to help you get the compensation you are rightfully owed.
Were you injured because of a negligent or careless driver in Boca Raton, Florida? Jeffrey A. Rosenberg is here to help you get the compensation you need to cover your injuries. Call (561) 508-8800 to get started or send us a message online.
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Boca Raton, FL 33487