Florida’s New Distracted Driving Law Goes Into Effect
Late last year, Florida legislators passed a new law that forbids drivers from manually typing letters, numbers, or symbols into a wireless communication device to text, email, or send instant messages while driving. Additionally, drivers are prohibited from using their wireless communication devices in a handheld manner in any way when in a school or construction zone. Law enforcement officers began issuing tickets for those who violate this law in January.
Although many hope that this law will significantly decrease incidences of distracted driving in the state, accidents caused by distracted driving still can and do occur, so if you were recently injured in a collision because another driver was texting or otherwise using a mobile electronic device unlawfully, you should contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale auto accident attorney who can evaluate your case and help you seek compensation from the at-fault party.
Distracted Driving as a Primary Offense
As of January 1st, texting while driving in Florida is illegal, as is any form of typing on a wireless communications device, which includes any handheld devices that is designed to:
- Receive or transmit text messages;
- Access or store data; or
- Connect to the internet or a communication service.
This definition includes not only cell phones, but also tablets, laptops, two-way messaging devices, and electronic handheld games.
Drivers who are found in violation of this law face a $30 fine for a first time offense and a $60 fine in addition to three points on their driver’s license for a subsequent offense. Last summer, texting and driving was also changed to a primary offense in Florida, which means that motorists can be pulled over for using their phones while driving.
How the Changes Could Affect Your Claim
The recent changes in Florida’s traffic code could represent good news for plaintiffs, largely because Florida is a comparative negligence state, which means that the amount of compensation that a motorist can recover will depend on the parties’ degree of fault in causing the accident. Proving that someone else was primarily at fault for an accident is much simpler when that individual was violating a traffic law, including the new distracted driving law, at the time of the collision.
Demonstrating that a driver was in violation of a traffic law, however, can be difficult and requires the collection of convincing evidence, which could include everything from video recordings of the accident captured by traffic cameras or bystanders and eyewitness testimony to phone records and accident reports. For help collecting evidence for your own distracted driving-related accident, please contact our legal team today.
Contact Our Office Today
If you were recently involved in an accident and believe that it was caused by a distracted driver, you could be entitled to damages. Please call the office of Boone & Davis at 954-566-9919 today to speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale auto accident attorney about your legal options. A member of our team can also be reached by completing one of our brief online contact forms.