When a person is behind the wheel of a car, they may hear a familiar “ding” or vibration in their pocket indicating that they got a text message on their cellphone. It is all too tempting to check that message and respond right away, but, as more people in Florida are becoming aware of the dangers of distracted driving, they may wait until they are through driving before addressing that text message. Unfortunately, there are always those who think they can multitask and text while driving. This can lead to accidents that cause injuries or even fatalities.
Florida residents may be surprised to hear, however, that in Florida, texting and driving is a “secondary” violation. This means that police cannot pull a vehicle over simply because they see someone texting and driving. A person can be charged with texting and driving only if they have been pulled over and charged for some other traffic infraction.
This is unfortunate, as in 2015 over 3,470 individuals lost their lives and a further 391,000 suffered injuries in car accidents caused by distracted driving. While bills have been presented to the Florida legislature that would make it so that texting and driving would be considered a primary violation, they have not progressed. At least one Florida county has drafted a resolution making texting and driving a primary violation in that county.
Florida is one of only four states in which texting and driving is only a secondary violation. Hopefully that will change in the future. Until then, those who are injured in a car accident caused by someone who was texting and driving may want to consult with an attorney to determine if they can take legal action.
Source: govtech.com, “Florida Still One of Four States that Don’t Regard Texting While Driving as Primary Violation,” Kevin Wadlow, Aug. 10, 2017