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Distracted Driving

One of the leading causes for accidents in the United States is distracted drivers. In 2017 alone, the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 3,166 people had died from a distracted driving related accident. Due to these statistics, Florida has implemented harsh penalties for drivers who aren’t aware of their surroundings.

A driver can be distracted by various reasons such as changing the radio to texting at the wheel. If it’s an activity not related to driving it can be considered distracted driving if it proves to be a visual or manual distraction of some sort. Additionally, Florida has passed a ban on all handling or using electronic devices while driving unless it’s for navigational purposes. So, unless you are talking on a hands-free phone it can be very easy to be ticketed for distracted driving. 

Traffic Lawyer for Distracted Driving Tickets in Palm Beach County, FL

Driving distracted can significantly increase your chances of getting into an accident. Not only that, but officers are now legally allowed to pull you over if you are using an electronic communication device while driving. If you or someone you know has been ticketed for distracted driving, then we suggest you hire Meltzer & Bell, P.A..

The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. understand that the consequences following a ticket are stressful and frustrating. Points added to your license, required driving school and even huge fines can be detrimental to your life. Learn how to fight ack by hiring an attorney at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. We will contest your ticket and do whatever possible to get it dismissed. 

Call us at (561) 557-8686 to set up your first consultation. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. accepts clients throughout the greater Palm Beach County area including West Palm Beach, Wellington, Boca Raton and Jupiter.

Overview of Distracted Driving in FL

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What Constitutes as Distracted Driving in Florida?

If you hear the words distracted driving, for most it conjures images of people gabbing on their phones while driving. Although phone-use is one of the major distractions for drivers it’s not the only one. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states distracted driving is anything that could take your attention away from the road.

You can imagine this would include a long list of activities. Some common distractions include, but are not limited to: 

  • Talking on the phone
  • Texting
  • Checking email
  • Using a phone’s camera or video app
  • Reading
  • Eating and/or drinking
  • Changing the radio or music
  • Talking to other passengers
  • Using social media sites or apps
  • Navigating/using a GPS
  • Applying makeup or engaging in other personal grooming
  • Rubbernecking
  • Attending to children or pets

NHTSA defines distractions into three categories. These three main types include: 

  • Visual Distractions – When a driver takes their eyes off the road to look at something unrelated to the task of driving such as rubbernecking to see an accident;
  • Mental Distractions – When a driver’s mind wanders from the task at hand and mental concentration is required for that task; and
  • Manual Distractions – When a driver takes one or both hands off the wheel to perform another activity unrelated to driving

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What Are the Penalties for Driving Distracted in Florida?

The state of Florida implemented harsh penalties for distracted drivers to encourage others to be more aware of their surroundings. A first-time ticket is a $30 fine with no points added to your license. A second conviction within five years will upgrade your citation to a moving traffic violation. You will be fined $60 and have 3 points added to your license as a result. 

If you use a device in a hands-free school or work zone, you can also receive a moving violation. You’ll be fined $60 and have three points added to your license as a result. You must understand that if you have a certain amount of points added to your driving record the DHSMV will suspend your license automatically for up to six months. 

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Florida’s 2019 Wireless Communication Ban

It was difficult for prosecutors to combat distracted drivers in the past due to the lack of legislation. There were numerous laws for talking on the phone or texting, but not all the other distracted behaviors a person could do on the road. To fight back, Florida lawmakers passed a new law that would ban all wireless communication devices while driving on the road. 

Florida Statutes Section 316.305 states law enforcement can legally stop you for manually typing or entering letters, numbers or symbols into a wireless communication device. You also are prohibited from holding a wireless communication device in a school or work zone completely. The only exceptions to this rule is emergency vehicles, reporting criminal activity to law enforcement, receiving messages about traffic safety or using your device for a navigational reason. 

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Additional Resources 

Florida’s Wireless Communication Device Ban – Visit the official website for the Florida Senate to read the statutory language for the Wireless Communication Device Ban. Access the site to learn more about what a wireless communication device is under the law, exceptions to the law and what officers are required to do during a stop.

Florida’s Point Suspension System – Visit the official website for the Florida Department of Highway and Motor Vehicle Safety (DHSMV) to learn more about the driver’s license point system. Access the site to learn how many points lead to a suspension, points for certain violations, and how to get points taken off your license. 

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Defense Attorney for Distracted Driving in West Palm Beach, FL

If you have been ticketed for distracted driving recently, then we highly encourage you not to pay the fine and instead gain legal representation. A conviction will add points to your license and result in an expensive fine. Call the attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. to learn all your legal options. 

The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. have years of experience that we can utilize for your case. You can reach us at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. and we will set up your first consultation free. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. accepts clients throughout the greater Palm Beach County area and surrounding counties including Martin County, St. Lucie County, and Broward County. 

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  • I was facing hard prison time and punishment. [Larry] did everything to pull strings and get me into rehab. After meeting with many therapists I finally got one to diagnose me successfully with Bipolar. Thanks to Larry I have been sober since 6/19/09. My health is great and my family life is amazing. It's because he saw something in me and my family that I wasn't just an alcoholic there was something that told me it was something else.

  • I was charged with a felony and facing the scary thought of losing my job, but thank you Attorney Steven Bell for helping me. Now I’m able to keep my job and take care of my family. I am truly amazed by your service, and you for understanding what I have to deal with. To me I’m very impressed by way you handled my case and was here to listen and make things OK!

  • Mr. Steven Bell, Words cant explain how thankful I am for you and your firm. I was facing felony charges and even looking at doing 5 years in jail! Not only did you fight for me, you got my case dismissed and dropped. For that, I don't have words to say “thank you” you were always kind and believed in me. You looked for every opportunity and you won! Thank you for being my guardian angel in disguise and steering me in the right direction. You are forever my “too go guy” thank you soooo much!

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