What is Distracted Driving?

Three types of distracted driving contribute to most auto accidents: visual, manual, and cognitive distractions. Visual distractions are things that take your eyes off the road, such as texting while driving. Manual distractions are things that cause you to take your hands off the wheel, such as drinking, eating, or talking. Finally, cognitive distractions are things that take your mind off your surroundings, such as being deep in thought. 

man distracted and texting while driving

Is Texting While Driving Illegal in Florida?

As of 2019, Florida law has banned texting while driving. If law enforcement suspects that you are texting while driving, they can pull you over and issue a citation. However, there are some exceptions to the law, such as using the phone to report an issue to law enforcement. 

Can I Hold The Phone and Talk While Driving in Florida?

No law explicitly bans holding a device and talking while driving, except when you drive in a school or an active work zone when workers are present. Although talking while driving is an excellent example of all three types of distractions, so try to keep talking to a minimum to make the roads safer for everyone around you. 

Can I Use a Hands-Free Device While Driving in Florida?

There is no law against hands-free devices, and they are recommended if you must take a call while driving. However, you can’t use earphones, headphones, or headsets while driving that cover both ears. So, avoid using earbuds that come with phones and get a dedicated hands-free device.

Is Texting While the Vehicle is Stopped Illegal?

Texting while you are stopped is not against the law. So, if you quickly respond to a text while sitting at a red light, you will not be stopped by law enforcement. However, if you’re distracted when the light turns green and you’re not moving, the officer may cite you for impeding traffic.

Can I Get a Ticket for Applying Makeup While Driving?

While you shouldn’t be doing it, it is not illegal to apply makeup while driving in Florida. However, this is one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving, and it could cause you to become a hazard or commit another traffic infraction such as running a stoplight. 

Is Using GPS While Driving Legal in Florida?

You can use your device for GPS instructions, but to be safe, it is best to enter the address before you start driving. Even though you aren’t texting, if a law enforcement officer thinks you are because you are entering an address, you may be pulled over. 

Can a Law Enforcement Officer Check My Phone to See if I Was Texting?

In Florida, a law enforcement officer cannot demand to see your phone to confirm whether you were texting while driving. However, if you were doing something such as entering an address into GPS, you may find yourself with a texting ticket. To avoid the issue altogether, just keep the phone where it belongs: Out of your hands.

Is Voice-to-Text a Safer Alternative to Texting While Driving?

This is one of the most common myths about distracted driving. Contrary to popular belief, voice-to-text services are not a safer alternative to texting while driving. This is because you still need to take your eyes off the road and hands off the wheel to activate it, and it is a cognitive distraction to talk while you drive. 

Can I Record Video While Driving?

This is a bit of a gray area in Florida law. You can record while driving, but if you are involved in an accident, that video may be used as evidence that you were driving while distracted. To help avoid this, have a passenger record the video or use a stand/holder so you can record hands-free. 

What are the Penalties for Texting While Driving in Florida?

The penalties can vary by county but range between $30-$119 fine and no points on your driving record. Second and each subsequent offense will be much harsher at $60-$169 and three points on your record. The penalty for texting while driving in school and work zones across all counties is $169 and three points. This doesn’t include other court fees, so it could pile up quickly if you’re not careful.

What is a Safe Phone Zone?

Florida has implemented numerous Safe Phone Zones along the highways to give drivers a safe place to pull off to respond to texts and emails. There are 64 Safe Phone Zones around Florida, more than any other state in the US. They include rest areas, welcome centers, and turnpike plazas. 

If you’re involved in an auto accident, our expert team at Darrigo and Diaz wants to help you get back on the road to recovery. If you’ve been involved in an accident, reach out to us today online or call (813) 774-3341 for a confidential phone consultation to know your rights as a driver or injured passenger. 

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