What You Should Know About Florida’s ‘Texting While Driving’ Ban

AAA applauds Florida legislators on strengthening the current law prohibiting text messaging by all drivers within the state. The bill, which passed on April 29, 2019, changes current enforcement of the ban from a secondary offense to a primary offense – enabling law enforcement officers to stop a vehicle solely for texting while driving. Drivers will also be prohibited from using their handheld device while driving in active construction and school zones.

“By strengthening the ban on texting while driving, Florida legislators are sending a strong message about this dangerous form of driver distraction,” – Mark Jenkins, spokesman, The Auto Club Group (AAA).

“AAA has long advocated for comprehensive distracted driving legislation and this is a major step forward in improving the safety on Florida roads…

Although this law may encourage a shift of habit to in-vehicle systems, drivers should know that voice-to-text technology can also be distracting. AAA urges drivers to focus on road and avoid any form of texting while behind the wheel – Mark Jenkins, AAA spokesman.

Dangers of Distracted Driving

  • According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were more than 51,000 distracted driver-related traffic crashes in Florida last year.
  • AAA research shows that people who text and drive are eight times more likely to be involved in a crash. The odds are twice as bad as talking on a handheld device.
  • Five seconds is the average time a driver’s eyes are off the road while texting. At 55 mph, that would be the equivalent of driving the length of a football field, blind.
  • A recent AAA study found that 78 percent of Americans say texting while driving is a significant danger; 35 percent admitted to doing it.

Additional Details about the Law

When signed into law, Florida will become the 45th state to enact a primary enforcement text messaging ban for all drivers. The legislation does not change the existing penalties associated with texting and driving.

Enforcement will begin July 1, 2019.

First violation:
The first violation of the ban is a non-moving violation, carrying a $30 base fine plus court costs and fees.

Second violation:
A second or subsequent violation committed within five years is a moving violation, carrying a $60 base fine plus court costs and fees.

“AAA would especially like to thank the sponsors of this legislation, Senator Wilton Simpson, Representative Jackie Toledo and Representative Emily Slosberg on the passage of this bill to combat distracted driving,” said Jenkins. “We commend their efforts to improve highway safety in the state of Florida.”

About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, insurance, financial services and travel offerings to over 9.9 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 59 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. Visit AAA on the Internet at AAA.com.

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