As a driver in Florida, it’s up to you to educate yourself about the various road rules that apply when you’re behind the wheel. Whether you get pulled over or find yourself on the side of the road at an accident scene, you need to know what to expect, especially when new laws impact you. If you need to file an injury suit against another driver, their violation of this law might become substantial evidence presented by your personal injury attorney throughout your case.
Many driver behaviors contribute directly to the risk of a car accident, especially those that are entirely preventable, like texting and driving. If you’ve already suffered an injury due to someone else who was texting and driving, make sure you connect with a personal injury attorney in Florida for more details about filing a lawsuit.
Why the Florida Legislature Passed the Wireless Communications While Driving Law
As distracted driving has become more prominent in news stories, legislatures have looked at ways to curb this behavior and highlight the severity of its potential to harm others. Texting and driving, however, have remained relatively consistent as a driver activity. Most people continue to pick up their phone and look at it even when they know it’s dangerous to do so.
To cut down on the number of people texting and driving and the injuries and accidents associated with those instances, Florida enacted Section 316.306 into law, which prohibits wireless handheld communication devices in a work or school zone. It is illegal to hold and use a phone in any active work zone area, school zone, or school crossings.
The Three Types of Distracted Driving
There are three different kinds of distracted driving, all of which are dangerous. These include:
- VIsual – in which the driver takes their eyes off the road,
- Manual – removing your hands from the wheel; and
- Cognitive – in which the mind is distracted from the road itself.
If another driver violates the law and acts recklessly, your personal injury attorney could use it as the foundation of your legal case when they file it. How the Law Defines Wireless Communication Device
Any two-way device held in a human hand can meet the definition of Florida’s handheld communications law. Most smartphones and cellular phones meet the definition of prohibited wireless communication devices for all intents and purposes.
The Penalties for Texting and Driving
If an officer notices you breaking the law concerning texting and driving in a work or school zone, penalties apply based on whether this is your first or a subsequent offense. Remember that your personal injury attorney will file a separate civil case against the offending driver and that any criminal consequences are handled in different courts.
For a general texting and driving first offense, a $30 base fine in addition to other court costs can be imposed against the driver, but no license points apply. For a second offense within five years, a $60 base fine is assessed in addition to court costs and three points against the driver’s license.
For a violation of the school or work zone law in Florida, the driver receives a $60 base fine, court costs, and the assessment of potentially three driver’s license points.
What Are the Exceptions?
There are some exceptions to breaking this law, including people inside a stationary motor vehicle that is not in operation. The law also does not apply to motor vehicle drivers who are reporting an emergency or suspected crime; those carrying out official duties working with an approved emergency vehicle; those receiving messages related to safety-related details like traffic updates, weather alerts, or emergency notifications; someone using a hands-free device; or anyone carrying out wireless interpersonal communication that doesn’t require manual entry of symbols, numbers, or letters.
Another critical exception involves the definition of the work zone. For the purposes of this law, it applies only to those areas where personnel are operating equipment on the road or immediately next to it.
Have You Suffered an Injury in An Accident Caused by a Distracted Driver? Contact Cohen and Juda, P.A.
When you’re up against a distracted driver, it falls to you to demonstrate how the other driver’s actions changed your life forever. When you’re coping with injuries and pain because of someone else’s negligent driving, you need to trust your legal case to a team that understands the stakes.
When it comes to finding the right personal injury attorney, know that Mr. Cohen and Mr. Juda will represent you personally. We have strong roots in Broward County, Florida, where we have practiced on behalf of injured vehicle accident victims for 30 years. Mr. Juda formerly represented insurance companies, so he understands their approach and strategies, and uses that knowledge for the benefit of his clients. Our lawyers offer free consultations and have resolved millions of dollars in cases through trial and settlement. Choose a personal injury attorney you can trust. Contact Cohen and Juda, P.A. today at 954-424-1440 to schedule your free consultation.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.