On October 1, 2013 a new law that bans texting while driving went into effect in Florida.The ban on texting while driving is rapidly spreading through the states. Florida is one of the last states to implement it. The ban has a lot of support as everyone as heard at least one news story where a teenage driver was texting and got in a crash at the same time that seriously hurt herself or someone else. These stories always sparks outrage and calls for a crackdown on texting and driving. As the law is not yet in effect in Florida, we do not know exactly how it will be enforced. As a Florida traffic ticket lawyer, I do have some thoughts and concerns to share:
- Don’t text and drive. It is dangerous, but it is also very tempting. You hear your phone beep. You pick it up to see who sent you a message and before you know it you are firing off a quick response. Do not pick up your phone in the first place.
- If you do get in an accident while texting, assume that police will cite your texting as the cause of the accident even if it wasn’t. If a driver ahead of you on I-95 suddenly slams on the brakes and you rear-end him, you should expect to be accused of causing the accident if you were texting. You probably would have gotten into the accident anyway, but that is unlikely to matter to the police.
- If you get into an accident that causes death or serious injury, your phone records can be used in court. That means, they can prove your texting caused the accident. This could get your sued and put in jail.
- You can invest in hands-free technology. There are many different apps and services that will read your text messages to you and send a response that you speak.
- Research suggests that the hands-free technology is just as distracting as having a phone in your hand. Because of this, do not overuse it. You do not need to be in constant contact with everyone you know. Unless it is absolutely necessary, wait until your vehicle is not moving to read and send text messages, even if you use hands-free devices.
- Your insurance rates are guaranteed to go up if you get in an accident while texting. The insurance company will raise your rates for the accident and for the traffic violation.
The bottom line is that you need to be aware of this new law and you need to follow it. It is true that for now, texting and driving is a secondary offense. That means that the police can not stop you for texting. They must first stop you for another reason. For example, if you are speeding and then the cops sees you texting, he can give you the ticket for texting. This law sounds like it is kind of weak and it is. Most people who don’t get into an accident while texting will probably never get a traffic ticket. However, just like a seatbelt ticket used to be a secondary ticket, it is only a matter of time before they change the law. As experienced Florida traffic ticket lawyers, we are confident that we will be able to help you and we do offer free consultations. However, the best thing that you can do is not to put yourself in a position to need the free consultation.