How Distracted Driving Affects Florida Motorists
It only takes one moment to cause a fatal auto accident when you’re driving distracted. Looking down to read a text is like driving blind. In fact, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that sending or reading a text at 55MPH is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
Distracted driving is a big issue across the United States, but it’s a huge problem in Florida. Recent stats found that Florida is the 2nd worst state for distracted driving, causing more than 50,000 auto accidents a year.
To help lower crashes and fatalities, Florida now has laws that penalize motorists when they drive distracted. If you have a driver’s license in Florida, what does that mean for you?
Distracted Driving Defined
According to the Florida Department of Transportation, distracted driving is “anything that takes the driver’s attention away from the vital task of driving.” There are three types of driving distractions that you should remember:
- Visual: Anything that causes a driver to take their eyes off the road.
- Manual: Anything that causes a driver to take their hands off the wheel.
- Cognitive: Anything that causes a driver to take their mind off the task of driving.
Many actions deemed “distracted driving” are perfectly legal, like eating in your car or dancing to music. While not recommended for safe driving, you don’t have to worry about fines or jail time if you want to splurge on a double cheeseburger. Florida police and lawmakers are more concerned with accidents caused by texting.
Laws Against Distracted Driving in Florida
Currently, Florida prohibits:
- Writing, reading, or sending text messages while driving
- Handheld cell phone use in Work Zones
- Handheld cell phone use in School Zones
As of January 1st, 2020, anyone caught holding a phone while driving will be issued a ticket. Fines associated with distracted driving are as follows:
1st Offense: This is considered a non-moving violation and results in a $30 fine plus court fees and costs. You will not lose any points on your driver’s license at this stage.
Subsequent Offenses: If you commit a distracted driving offense within five years of your first, it is considered a moving violation. Your fine will be $60 plus court fees and costs. Three points will be assessed against your driver’s license.
If you are caught using a handheld device in a School Zone, you will be charged with a moving violation even if it is your first offense. You will also be charged $60, must pay court fees and costs, and will have three points assessed against your license.
Have You Been Hit by a Distracted Driver in Florida?
Distracted driving is a contributing factor in Florida car accidents every day. On average, 137 distracted driving car wrecks occur every day. Statistics show that more than 200 Floridians are killed every year due to distracted driving accidents.
If you or a loved one were injured in a collision caused by a distracted driver, you deserve compensation. This is especially true when the distracted driver’s liability involves areas of a new law, such as Florida’s Put It Down Law.
Your chance of receiving maximum compensation is greatly increased when you have an experienced Boca Raton accident attorney by your side. Don’t delay – our office is open 24/7 to take your phone call today.