Florida Texting And Driving Ban Enforcement Begins With The New Year

January 1, 2020

Enforcement begins today, January 1, 2020, of Florida’s new law banning texting and driving.

Motorists can be stopped and cited for using wireless communications devices while their vehicle is in motion.  The ban includes manually entering multiple letters, numbers of characters of kind while sending or receiving a text, email and instant messaging while the vehicle is moving.

The law went into effect July 1, 2019, changing enforcement of the ban from a secondary offense to a primary offense – enabling law enforcement officers to stop a vehicle solely for texting while driving.

School zones and active construction zones are considered hands free. Drivers can use Bluetooth, but cannot pick up their device.

Exemptions exist for autonomous vehicles, emergency vehicles, reporting emergency situations or crime activity. Additional exemptions exist while activating a hands free function, receiving messages related to navigation, date used primarily by vehicle, radio broadcasts and alerts pertaining to safety including traffic and weather.

Law enforcement cannot forcefully seize or search a communication device without first obtaining driver consent or a warrant. They must first inform their right to decline a search of their device. Warrants for device records are only obtainable when a diver is involved in a crash causing injury or a fatality.

Comments

14 Responses to “Florida Texting And Driving Ban Enforcement Begins With The New Year”

  1. James on January 4th, 2020 2:15 pm

    Distracted driving due to use of cell phone should be treated same as DUI.
    Too bad the misguided teenagers trying to take our constitutional gun rights away refuse to give up their cell phone privileges while driving.
    Cell phones injure and kill more than guns.

  2. wilykyote on January 2nd, 2020 11:40 am

    once the Insurance Company is notified of
    texting while driving and being ticketed they
    should increase the premium 10 fold on 1st
    ticket and immediate cancellation on 2nd.

  3. L. B. on January 2nd, 2020 10:45 am

    It’s about time.

  4. bigbill1961 on January 2nd, 2020 2:41 am

    A useless law that will have little to no impact. It should be illegal to even hold a phone while the vehicle is moving or even in drive. First offense should be a $1000 fine. (don’t be shocked at the amount, if they can afford to spend a grand on an iPhone, they can afford to pony up the fine) Second offense should be the fine and points on your license. Third offense should be license suspension. What are you talking about that is so important that you’re willing to put others as well as yourself at risk? I tell family and friends that if they call, and I’m driving, their call will be ignored until I park the car. Every day, and I mean EVERY day that I’m driving, I see one or more persons looking down at their phone, with the phone up to their ear or drifting onto the shoulder or into the adjacent lane. I’ve actually been run off the road twice and it scared the crap out of me. If you’re holding a phone to your ear, your peripheral vision on that side is shot. It’s not a matter of “if” they’ll hurt or kill someone, it’s a matter of “when”.

  5. paul on January 1st, 2020 7:27 pm

    useless law by the lawmakers that text while driving… you can’t control what can’t be controlled.

  6. StricterPhoneLaws on January 1st, 2020 4:28 pm

    New York has one of the best cell phone laws there is. You are not to touch a phone while your car is in drive. That even includes being at a stop light. Been there and done that. I see approximate 3 out of every 5 vehicles on my morning commute of 14 miles that has a cell phone in their face. It’s sad. Too much distraction while driving. This law needs revised with stricter guidelines and penalties.

  7. steve on January 1st, 2020 11:31 am

    CW…..

    I have watched people TEXT for MILES and have no clue there was people around watching them.
    So some may get around this, but most will have a ticket..

  8. Piney Woods on January 1st, 2020 11:01 am

    Another law on the books…when the original law passed it was stated by some that was the end of it but in truth it was a slippery slope to this. There were already sufficient laws on the books without this feel good legislation by politicians.

  9. retired on January 1st, 2020 10:51 am

    So what good is the new law??????

    BUT OFFICER I WAS ONLY TYPING IN AN ADDRESS

  10. JD on January 1st, 2020 10:19 am

    Wimpy law! Should include holding a phone even for talking. I ride with a friend and he will answer every call! Might be going down the interstate at 70, ring-ring. He answers and immediately slows to 40 and is wandering into other lanes. It will take a politician’s family member to be seriously injured or killed before Florida catches up to states like New Your! (I don’t go with him much anymore)

  11. Allen cBelow gallina on January 1st, 2020 10:15 am

    Finally!, A real law is on the books. This means fall less D A rear enders.

  12. Tom on January 1st, 2020 9:47 am

    CW, you’re correct. The only time it may be helpful is in a traffic fatality and then being able to get a search warrant for the phone. Of course the next problem is if the phone is even able to be forced into without being unlocked by the user. Most big name smartphones cant despite what you see on tv crime dramas or law enforcement brags.

    This law is nothing more than feel good legislation to scare the masses into compliance and make the politicians who voted for it look good.

  13. Rational on January 1st, 2020 9:44 am

    Bravo Florida! This ban should be mandatory for all states.

  14. CW on January 1st, 2020 8:16 am

    >”Additional exemptions exist while activating a hands free function, receiving messages related to navigation, date used primarily by vehicle, radio broadcasts and alerts pertaining to safety including traffic and weather.”<

    And this is how people will get around this law. They will just claim they were using GPS on their phone or an app like Waze. The officer can't search the phone, so no proof they're lying.





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