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Florida Starts Ban on Texting While Driving

The traffic offenses of Texting while driving will now be against the law starting on October 1, 2013. Florida Statutes 316.305 is the law used to regulate and enforce Florida’s Ban on Texting while Driving law. The Statute states: “A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data on such a device for the purpose of nonvoice interpersonal communication, including, but not limited to, communication methods known as texting, e-mailing, and instant messaging.” The statutes allows for some relief to those addicted to texting to check and send messages while the vehicle is stationary. The dangers associated with texting while driving is substantial, however enforcing this statute will be a challenge for law enforcement. Law enforcement can only enforce this statute as a secondary action. This means law enforcement must have already stopped your vehicle for a separate violation such as careless driving before they can site you for the texting statute violation. Furthermore, law enforcement will face significant evidentiary issues. Law enforcement may not be able to use the billing records statements or statements from wireless providers as evidence unless a crash resulting in death or personal injury occurs. These traffic offenses still have minimal penalties. While I commend the legislature for outlawing texting while driving the penalties need some adjusting. A first offense is considered a non moving violation. The only way for the citation to carry points on your driving record as a moving violation is for a second or subsequent violation within 5 years of the prior conviction.

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