Selfies and Texting in Florida
Distracted driving takes lives and causes serious injury. It’s no surprise there are so many nationwide campaigns regulating the use of cellphones, considering they contribute dramatically to the problem of distracted driving. It seems that no sooner does one law about distracted driving take effect than another dangerous driving practice occurs.
In Florida, you may legally use your cellphone for talking while driving, but you are expected to use caution when you do so. The new practice of taking a self-portrait, known as a selfie, while driving is the epitome of distracted driving. Taking a selfie while driving — and causing an accident — would almost certainly result in liability in a personal injury lawsuit.
While Florida has become the 41st state to ban texting while driving, distracted driving laws clearly need to go beyond the current requirements and penalties to have a larger deterrent effect on distracted driving.
The following are the basic parameters of the current Florida law banning texting while driving:
- It is illegal to text while driving. There is an exemption for drivers who are stopped in traffic or waiting at traffic lights. This makes the law difficult to enforce.
- Texting while driving is a secondary offense, which means that to be ticketed for texting, a driver must be pulled over for committing another traffic infringement like speeding or running a red light.
- A first offense carries a $30 penalty, and a second offense carries a $60 penalty.
- Having an accident while texting carries a six-point license penalty.