By Amy Marcos | Photo: Brian Erickson
Attention, Tallahassee drivers! Effective July 1, 2019, texting while driving will be considered a primary offense. In May of this year, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law that banned texting while driving and allows police officers to pull over drivers that are seen doing just that. Title XXIII of the Florida Statues calls this law the “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law.”
This ban is being implemented in order to “improve roadway safety for all vehicle operators, vehicle passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and other road users, prevent crashes related to the act of text messaging while driving a motor vehicle, reduce injuries, deaths, property damage, health care costs, health insurance rates, and automobile insurance rates related to motor vehicle crashes” among other safety reasons.
While speaking on the phone while driving is still legal, it is not suggested. Drivers in Florida can also continue to utilize GPS features on their phone, have conversations over the phone, and use the Bluetooth feature. However, the use of any electronic device in construction or school zones is prohibited completely.
There are some issues with this law, as many have pointed out. For one, to confirm that a driver was indeed texting while driving, one would need to hand over their phone to the law enforcement officer so that they can check to see if texts were sent in the duration of time that they were seen and stopped. However, one can decline to hand over their phone, according to the law.
Most of the United States has already implemented a ban on texting while driving, so Florida is among the remaining few to participate. For an entire overview of this new law, visit the Florida Statutes page.