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Understanding potential changes in distracted driving laws

On Behalf of | Apr 28, 2019 | Distraced Driving

You may know that Florida lawmakers have been considering changes in the laws that determine how law enforcement monitors distracted driving. Just last week, the Florida House voted to make texting while driving a primary offense. If passed into law, law enforcement officers would be able to pull drivers over and cite them for texting.

As of now, Florida laws only consider texting while driving to be a secondary offense. Police can write tickets for texting, but only if they have already pulled the driver over for something else, such as speeding or driving through a stop sign. Like many others, you may wonder if potential changes in distracted driving laws could make the roads safer, along with what these laws may mean for you.

Common misconceptions about these laws

The Senate is also considering a version of the same bill. If passed, texting would be a primary offense, but there are still questions about the scope of the law. All Florida drivers would be wise to consider the law carefully and take the time to understand what it would mean if passed. Consider the following facts about this legislation:

  • Officers would have to record the race and ethnicity of each driver they cite, which would be subject to review in order to ensure law enforcement is not targeting certain drivers.
  • Drivers would not be cited for using their phones while the vehicle is stationary, such as while waiting at a stoplight.
  • Motorists can still use their phones for the GPS, as long as they are using it hands-free.
  • Drivers have the right to refuse to allow a police officer to search their phones if pulled over for texting.
  • People who operate self-driving cars are not subject to these restrictions.

You know that distracted driving is a serious problem on Florida roads. If this new law passes, it could reduce the number of accidents and fatalities caused by inattentiveness.

Your rights as a driver 

Whether this law passes or lawmakers have to go back to the drawing board to pass stricter distracted driving laws, you still have rights. You are entitled to seek compensation if you suffer harm in an accident caused by a distracted driver. You may want to take the time to learn about your options for pursing personal injury compensation and understand how to fight for maximum recovery under the state’s personal injury laws.