You know texting while driving is dangerous. Did you also know it is against the law? Florida’s Wireless Communications While Driving Law took effect July 1, 2019, and enforcement began in 2020. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the Florida Department of Transportation launched the Put It Down: Focus on Driving campaign to raise awareness of the law by urging drivers to put their phones down and focus on driving.
Do you know when to “put it down”? Take the quiz!
Distracted driving is anything that takes your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road, or your mind off your driving. Texting does all three, making it especially dangerous.
The law prohibits texting, emailing, or messaging while driving. It also bans the use of a cellphone or any other handheld device while driving in a school crossing, school zone, or work zone. The message is simple: put it down!
A stationary vehicle is not subject to the prohibition in the law. There are other exceptions too. For example, the law does not apply to a driver who is operating an emergency vehicle; reporting an emergency or criminal or suspicious activity to law enforcement; receiving messages related to safety or navigation, including emergency, traffic, or weather alerts; or using a device for navigation.
A first offense of texting while driving is a nonmoving traffic violation with a $30 fine, plus court costs and other fees. A second offense within five years is a moving traffic violation with a $60 fine, plus court costs and other fees, and three points assessed against the driver’s license.
Using a handheld device in a school zone or work zone—even if it is your first offense—is a moving traffic violation with a $60 fine, plus court costs and other fees, and three points assessed against the driver’s license.
Any activity can be distracting, but the most common distractions include tending to kids or passengers in the back seat, eating, watching an event outside of the vehicle, interacting with passengers, unsecured pets, putting on makeup, adjusting radio or climate controls, and even daydreaming.