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distracted driving

Penalties for Distracted Driving in Florida

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported 48,537 crashes were caused by distracted driving in 2020. Over 2,700 of those crashes involved severe bodily injury. Due to the rise in distraction-related crashes, Florida lawmakers have stepped in, enacting several laws to help keep motorists and pedestrians safe. Below, we discuss distracted driving and the potential penalties you may face if pulled over.

What is distracted driving?
Distracted driving is any action that takes your focus off of safely operating a motor vehicle. While most people think distracted driving is synonymous with texting and smartphone usage, other forms of distracted driving include eating, talking to passengers, dealing with young children, and falling asleep at the wheel. There are three forms of distracted driving:
● Manual—where your hands are taken off the wheel
● Visual—where your eyes are taken off the road
● Cognitive—where your thoughts take your focus off the road

Florida’s Wireless Communications While Driving Law
Referred to as the Florida Ban on Texting While Driving, this law was passed in 2019. The law is detailed in 316.305 of the Florida Statutes and makes texting while driving a primary offense—meaning you can get pulled over for texting while driving. The law states that motorists cannot operate a motor vehicle while manually typing characters like numbers, letters, and symbols on a wireless communications device. You also cannot use your phone in a handheld manner in a designated work or school zone. This includes emails, texting, instant messaging, and posting on social media.

The law focuses on texting while driving but allows you to use a smart device for navigation purposes (except in a work or school zone). You may also activate or deactivate a function on your phone that allows you to use it hands-free, such as picking up a call and placing it on speakerphone. The law only applies when the vehicle is in motion, not parked and stationary. The ban also does not apply to law enforcement and first responders performing official duties or for anyone reporting criminal activity.

Penalties for distracted driving citations
The first offense for distracted driving is considered a non-moving penalty and comes with a $30 fine. If a second offense occurs within five years, it is a moving violation and comes with a fine between $60 and $100, plus three points on your driver’s license. If you are pulled over for distracted driving in a work or school zone, the infractions are more severe, with fines starting at $60 for any offense.

Injured in an accident that involved distracted driving? Call the King Law Firm
If you were injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, you might be entitled to compensation for damages. The experienced auto accident attorneys at the King Law Firm are on hand to discuss your distracted driving case. Call our Ocala office at 352-269-1814 for a free consultation.

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