What Defines “Distracted Driving” In Florida?

As of July 1st, texting while driving is a “primary offense” in the State of Florida. This means that drivers can now be pulled over and cited for texting, even if it’s their only offense. Slowly but surely, the nation is waking up to just how dangerous—and unnecessary—this commonplace activity really is.

Sadly, this increased awareness hasn’t done much to stop the countless other forms of distracted driving. In fact, the new texting-while-driving law does nothing to address the other ways that a phone can cause accidents. In fact, there are many other activities that can pose an unnecessary risk while on the road, both to the driver and others.

Distracted Driving: How Florida Handles the Problem

Only a handful of behaviors are considered so dangerous that they require laws specifically governing them, and until recently, texting while driving wasn’t one of them. This can lead drivers to assume that if they aren’t drinking alcohol, using illegal drugs, or texting people while driving, then there’s no problem.

But the reality is that simple in any state, including the State of Florida. Just because you can talk on a cell phone, hold a cup of coffee, or apply makeup without getting caught doesn’t mean that you’re off the hook. A distracted driver who causes an accident is liable for their behavior, regardless of how socially acceptable it may be.

How Drivers Can Keep Themselves And Others Safe

Driving is one of the most dangerous things that we do without thinking about, but we do it every day, and rarely are there serious consequences. Because of this, even the best of us probably overestimate our driving ability a little bit.

It becomes a problem when dangerous or distracting behaviors are added to the mix, or when the law is misunderstood. There are many drivers who wouldn’t dream of driving after a sip of wine but routinely drive on medications that have the same effect as alcohol, like prescription sedatives. And the people who would never text behind the wheel might be the same people holding coffee or a donut in their “free hand.”

The temptation to drive while distracted can be overwhelming in our busy society, but it can always wait. Texting, eating, and arguing with your kids can all be done just as easily from the shoulder of a road, if not the safety and privacy of your own home.

If you have a question about distracted driving, the recent changes in Florida while, or an injury you’ve sustained because of a distracted driver, we’d love to help you. As a personal injury attorney, Katherine has a great deal of knowledge and experience from years of helping accident survivors. For a free consultation, contact our office at any time by phone, email, or even text message—just not while driving!