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Texting While Driving

The frequency of people texting has drastically increased in the last ten years. We commonly use texting as a way to communicate with friends, co-workers, family members and even strangers online. As most states, in Florida it’s illegal to text on a wireless communication device while driving. The reason for this is to reduce accidents caused by distracted driving. 

The act of texting requires a lot more attention than you think. It involves both mental and physical stimuli and forces the driver to take their hands off the wheel. This means that a person is texting is much more likely to have slower reaction time and motor control than someone who is not. If you or someone you know has been ticketed for texting while driving, its important you seek experienced legal counsel.

Traffic Attorney for Texting Citations in West Palm Beach, FL

Were you recently ticketed in Florida for texting while driving? We suggest you get in contact with the experienced traffic ticket attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. We understand the special rules that impact the holder of a commercial driver's license in Florida. With offices in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, FL, the CDL traffic ticket attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represent clients throughout Palm Beach County and Broward County, FL.

We can help you protect your driving record and your CDL license after being issued any type of civil traffic violation or criminal traffic offense. Call (561) 557-8686 to speak to one of our experienced traffic ticket lawyers. 

Overview of Texting Tickets in FL  

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Florida’s New 2019 Texting and Driving Law

For years, Florida law enforcement had issues legally pulling a person ticketed with texting because of the lack of legislation. Now thanks to Florida’s New Wireless Communication Ban in 2019 it’s much easier for police officers to find probable cause to pull a person over for texting. Now, officers are lawfully allowed to pull over a person who may be using their wireless communication device such as texting on a cellphone.

The Florida Statutes Section 316.306 establish that police officers are legally allowed to stop a motor vehicle and issue a citation if the motorist is actively texting and driving. The statute specifically establishes that if a person is typing multiple letters, numbers or symbols into a wireless communication device then the officer has grounds to pull them over. The statute does have an exception for those calling emergency services, reporting a crime or using their wireless communication device for navigational purposes.

Additionally, the law states the use of wireless communication devices in a school or work zone are prohibited entirely. Texting in a school or work zone will automatically lead to a doubled traffic fine. The only time a person can use their phone in a school or work zone is if they are calling another person hands-free.

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What Is the Penalty for Texting and Driving in Florida?

Although a texting citation may not seem serious, the penalties can get dire if you accumulate enough tickets. A first-time ticket for texting and driving is $30 and you will likely not have points added to your license. However, if it’s your second conviction within 5 years the fine will be doubled to $60 and you will have three points added to your license. 

You will also receive a $60 fine and three points added to your license if you are found texting and driving in a school or work zone. You must understand that if you accumulate a certain amount of points in a period then your license may be suspended as a result. The suspension term can be up to two years depending on the circumstances. 

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Why is Texting and Driving So Dangerous?

Texting can put a person and the people around them in danger because it raises the risk of an accident. The act of texting in particular involves using different parts of your brain and has been found can be even more distracting than other activities such as talking on the phone. Texting fulfills the three different types of distracted driving listed by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These categories include the following:

  • Visual Distractions: Taking your eyes off the road for any non-driving reason;
  • Manual Distractions: Taking your hands off the wheel for any non-driving reason; or
  • Cognitive Distractions: Concentrating on something else other than driving the vehicle

Texting does require a person to engage in all three types of distractions that are listed above. It involves looking at your phone, taking your hand off the wheel and concentrating on texting rather than driving. These three actions together can make it nearly impossible for a driver to stop in time if a hazard appears suddenly. A driver must take significant time to assess a driving issue and decide what to do next fast to stop an accident. If you are texting, then you will have little to no time to address the situation and are much more likely to get into an accident.

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Additional Resources

Texting in a Commercial Vehicle in Florida - Visit the website of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to read a publication added last updated on may 19, 2016 that explains the prohibition in Florida Statute 316.3025(6) for texting or operating a mobile phone while operating a commercial motor vehicle. 

Mobile Phone Restrictions Fact Sheet - Visit the website of the U.S. Department of Transportation for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration related to rules against using a cell phone or texting while operating a mobile phone 

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Ticketing Defense Lawyer in Palm Beach County, FL

If you were charged with sending a text message while driving, particularly if the allegation involves a crash or driving in a school zone or construction zone while texting, then contact the experienced attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. to enlist the aid of a skilled lawyer. With years of traffic court experience, our attorneys are ready to contest your ticket today.

With offices in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, our traffic ticket attorneys represent clients charged with sending or reading a text message while driving throughout Palm Beach County and Broward County by providing a diligent approach to their case and open communication through each step of the process. Call us now at (561) 557-8686 to discuss your legal options.

Our attorneys practice throughout the greater South Florida area including Broward County, St. Lucie County, Martin County and Miami-Dade County.

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