Is it legal to use your cell phone while driving in Florida? Yes and no. Florida law allows the use of cell phones, but has some limitations around texting while driving.
It is perfectly legal to talk on your cell phone while driving in Florida. An officer may not pull you over for the use of your cell phone, but there are many ways that your driving record may be damaged or that you may be penalized for the use of your cell phone while driving. Cell phones are also a large distraction to drivers causing a threat to everyone on the roads. There is a qualified reason why you will find 64 different “Safe Phone Zones” located at rest areas and welcome centers while driving through Florida allowing you to pull over to use your cell phone; more than any other state.
Texting While Driving:
In 2013, the State of Florida placed a ban on text messaging while driving. However, an officer may not pull someone over only for texting while driving. Florida’s texting law is considered a secondary law meaning that the driver must have presented some other violation (such as speeding) to be pulled over before they can be punished for texting and driving. If a driver is found texting while driving during a moving violation, then the driver may be penalized points on their driving record.
• First offenses have no points added to license
• When pulled over for a violation and are texting in a school zone, two points are added to license
• If texting and driving results in a crash, six points are added to license
Distracted Drivers in Florida:
Texting while driving in Florida falls under the Florida Distracted Driving Law as a secondary law. In Florida, you may be ticketed if you are seen as a distracted driver. What does this mean? Distracted driving is defined as any mental or physical activity that takes the driver’s focus off the task of driving. Officers in Florida may report driver distraction in the following categories:
• Distracted by electronic communication devices (cell phone, etc)
• Distracted by other electronic devices (navigation device, DVD player)
• Other internal distraction (grooming, eating, etc.)
• External distraction (animal, road construction, etc.)
• Texting or general inattentiveness
According to the Center for Disease Control, each day in the United States, over eight people are killed and 1,161 are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. The use of cell phones whether the driver talking, texting, or browsing is part of this statistic.
Although Florida doesn’t ban the use of cell phones while driving, there are many campaigns encouraging drivers to utilize the technology available today for hands free use of phones and to take advantage of the “Safe Phone Zones” to avoid becoming a Florida accident statistic. Distracted drivers become negligent drivers far too easily and many times the cell phone is the main distraction. Although you may follow every safety measure and use your phone wisely, there are many drivers on the roads that still cause a risk.
Florida drivers are welcome to use your cell phones by law, but it may come with a price and some points on your license. You may consider returning that non-urgent text or call once you have reached your destination.
If you have been involved in an auto accident in Florida due to the negligence of a distracted driver, contact an experienced accident attorney at David & Philpot, P. L. to weigh out your options under Florida law. The attorneys at David & Philpot, P.L. have been representing Florida drivers for over 20 years recovering millions of dollars for our clients. Contact us today at 800.360.7015 for a free consultation.