Consequences of Using Your Cellphone While Driving in Florida
Gregg Hollander | October 2, 2020 | Car Accidents
Most of us cannot get through the day without our cellphones. For some, a cell phone is just a telephone. For others, it is a computer and a personal assistant.
Because our society has become attached to our cell phones, many people use their cellphones even when they are driving. However, driving and using a cellphone is dangerous. In many cases, using a cellphone while driving can be a deadly distraction.
For that reason, many states have enacted laws that prohibit or restrict the use of cellphones while driving, including Florida. Additionally, drivers could face civil penalties if the use of a cellphone while driving causes an accident.
Let’s review some of the potential consequences of using a cellphone while driving in Florida.
If you are caught violating Florida’s Ban on Texting While Driving Law, you could be ticketed and fined.
Under the law, it is illegal to use a cellphone or any other wireless device to text while driving. The ban includes writing, sending, or reading text messages. It also bans emailing and instant messaging while driving.
The ban on texting while driving is a primary traffic offense in Florida. A primary traffic offense allows a police officer to pull over a driver for no other reason than that specific traffic offense. In other words, if a police officer sees you texting while sitting at a red light, the officer can pull you without any other reason.
There are a few exceptions to the ban on texting while driving. You may use your cellphone for:
- Navigation purposes
- Receiving emergency alerts
- Reporting criminal activity
- Reporting an emergency
Because work zones and school zones have a high risk of injury to individuals in those zones, the use of handheld cell phones or other wireless communication devices is banned entirely in those zones.
Civil Claims for Traffic Accidents
One of the reasons that Florida and other states ban or restrict the use of cellphones while driving is because of the dangers it poses to others. Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of traffic accidents in Florida. Cell Phone use is one of the most common causes of distracted driving accidents.
Distracted driving is any activity that causes the driver to lose or reduce the person’s focus on operating the motor vehicle. That could include removing your hands from the steering wheel, taking your eyes off the road, or thinking about something other than driving.
Using a cell phone involves all three of the major distractions to driving – manual, visual, and cognitive. The driver’s risk of causing a traffic accident increases significantly when the driver is using a cellphone while driving.
- Medical care
- Lost wages and benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Decreases in earning potential
- Personal care costs
- Emotional and mental distress
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
- Decreases in quality of and enjoyment of life
If the driver does not have sufficient insurance to pay the personal injury claim, the driver could be held personally liable for the damages. A personal judgment in Florida for a car accident could result in wage garnishments.
Other Consequences of Using a Cellphone While Driving
In addition to traffic tickets and personal injury lawsuits, your insurance company may increase your insurance premiums. A traffic ticket or accident can significantly increase insurance rates, depending on your driving history. If the offense occurred in a school or work zone, the insurance company might view the incident more harshly.
In some cases, a person could lose their license for violating traffic laws. If that occurs, the person may find it difficult to get back and forth to work. If the person must drive as a requirement of employment, the person could lose his or her job for repeated offenses or the loss of driving privileges.
Cellphones Are Not the Only Dangerous Driving Distraction
Other examples of distracted driving include:
- Eating and drinking
- Grooming or changing clothes
- Adjusting vehicle settings
- Distractions outside of the vehicle
- Interacting with passengers
- Reaching for falling objects
- Pets and children in the vehicle
If you are injured in a distracted driving accident, talking with a car accident lawyer can help. A lawyer explains your legal rights and the steps you need to take to hold a distracted driver accountable for his or her actions that led to the crash.