Cell Phone Driving Laws in Florida
Using a cell phone while driving Florida roads and highways can be dangerous. In addition, drivers may be subject the tickets and fines if pulled over for a cell phone-related driving issue during their commutes. It is important to read up on all of the current cell phone laws in the state, and to abide by them accordingly. Review the below questions and answers for up-to-date information on operating a cell phone while driving in Florida.
Question #1: Can I make or take a call while driving?
In short, yes. Florida law states that if it is safe to take a call while you are driving, you are well within your rights to make or receive a call while in the driver's seat.
Question #2: Are there any laws about making hands-free calls?
In many states, such as Alabama, Minnesota and Tennessee, using a hands-free device is the only way to legally make and receive calls as a driver. This is not the case in Florida, however, it can be a good option to consider if you want to ensure you are driving safely while using your cell phone.
Question #2: Can I text while driving?
This is where the law has recently changed. As of 2013, a limited ban on text messaging while driving was introduced. This law states that Florida drivers must not type or read messages of any kind while in the driver's seat (including emails, instant messages and texts). The caveat here, however, is that doing so would never cause you to be stopped by a police officer, because it is not a primary law.
Question #3: If I can't be caught why should I bother?
It's still important to take this law seriously, even if it is unenforceable on its own. For one thing, it is still possible to be reprimanded for texting while driving, it's just that it needs to be part of an additional driving offense. For example, being involved in a crash, the cause of which was negligence as a result of texting while driving, or running through a red stop sign while sending an email on your phone, would both involve enforceable penalties.
And aside from what the law says or how you can be punished, use your common sense. Consider that using your cell phone while driving can be genuinely dangerous to you and those around you. Therefore cautiously using your cell phone is absolutely what you should aim to do, whatever the consequences.
Question #3: What are the penalties for breaking cell phone driving laws?
As explained above, this would depend on the illegality associated, since using the electric keyboard on your cell phone does not, in itself, lead to a penalty. Similarly, if you are speaking on your phone while driving and this causes you to be distracted, and therefore to commit another crime, such as reckless driving or speeding, the penalties would be constructed around the incident.
Question #5: How does Florida differ from other state cell phone laws?
Compared with other states where there are total bans on any cell phone usage while driving, Florida's laws might be considered lenient. It is widely thought that underreporting of cell phone usage as a cause of accidents is an issue at a national level, which means that statistics do not currently reflect the potential severity of the inherent risks. This means it is still legal to use a cell phone in some states, including Florida.
As such, no matter what the law states, the most important thing is to use your common sense and really think about whether using your phone at any given moment will prevent you from being a conscientious driver.
Question #6: How does the law differ for teens?
In Florida, the same laws apply to teen drivers as to adult drivers when it comes to cell phone usage in the car. However, it is doubly important that the recommendations about safe driving while using your cell phone are well understood by this less experienced age group.
Question #7: What can I do to insure I'm driving safely when using my phone?
Did you know that distracted drivers are one of the biggest causes of accidents in the country? As such, all drivers should take into account the following precautions to ensure they are safely using cell phones while driving:
- Let it ring!
As a general rule, only make or answer important or emergency calls while driving.
- Pull over
If you can safely pull over and make a call or send a message, it's always safest to do this, instead.
- Short 'n' sweet
Keep any conversations that do take place to a minimum. Let the person know you are in the car and can call them back for a longer chat.
- Go hands free
If you can gain access to a hands-free device, it's always safest to make a call through these means.
- Keep it within reach
Ensure your phone is reachable from the driver's seat.
- Consider the conditions
Do not use your cell phone during hazardous driving conditions such as heavy traffic or severe weather.