New Florida No Texting While Driving Law
What Does the New No Texting Law Say?
Is the new law still secondary enforcement?
No, Previously Florida had a law against texting while driving, but it was only secondary enforcement requiring another (primary) violation to occur before pulling the driver over. The new law which is primary enforcement allows law enforcement to pull over drivers solely `for texting while driving. meaning that drivers may be pulled over for violating this law solely.
When does the new law start?
The law goes into effect October 1st, 2019, with a 3-month grace period where violators will be warned and educated. Citations behind January 1st, 2020.
What are the costs, fees and points?
1st offense is 3 points + $30 + court fees.
1st time offenders may opt to take a wireless communications device safety program to avoid points + $30 fine + court fees.
2nd offense within 5 years is 3 points + $60 + court fees.
Can drivers text or use social media while driving?
No, Drivers may not use wireless communication devices while in motion. If you are "operating", i.e. driving, a vehicle, you may not use a wireless communication device to send or receive text messages.
Are there any exemptions in the new law ?
Exemptions include autonomous vehicles, emergency vehicles, reporting emergency situations or criminal activity, and activating a hands-free function. Also exempt are receiving messages that are related to navigation, data used primarily by the vehicle, radio broadcasts, and alerts pertaining to safety including traffic and weather.
Is consent or a warrant required for device access?
Yes, Law enforcement cannot forcefully search a phone or other device without first obtaining driver consent or a warrant. They must inform the driver of their right to decline a search of their device. Any search must be voluntary and not coerced. In addition, law enforcement may not seize a phone until the time they are able to obtain a warrant. Warrants for device records are only obtainable when a driver is involved in a crash causing injury or a fatality.
Are there any special provisions for School Zones and Work Zones?
Yes, These areas are considered hands-free only. Drivers may not hold a wireless device for any reason. All communications are limited to Hands Free function only.