Distraction is a leading cause of Florida car accidents. Last year, Florida Statute 316.305 was passed making it illegal to text while driving. In legal terms, it says no person is permitted to "operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data on such a device for the purpose of nonvoice interpersonal communication, including, but not limited to, communication methods known as texting, e-mailing, and instant messaging. As used in this section, the term "wireless communications device" means any handheld device used or capable of being used in a handheld manner, that is designed or intended to receive or transmit text or character-based messages, access or store data, or connect to the Internet or any communications service as defined in s. 812.15 and that allows text communications."
But, how many tickets have been written because of this new law? According to Tampa Bay Fox 13, in the nine-county Tampa Bay area, just 109 citations were issued. Across Florida, the number is just 803 since the new law took effect back in October – 200 of them being written in Miami-Dade. To see a breakdown of tickets written per County, check out Tampa Bay Fox 13's report.
Although there has not been a lot of tickets written, the Florida Highway Patrol tells Fox 13 that the law does have its impact. "There are many people who are more cognizant, not only because there's a law, but the huge media wave," says FHP Sgt. Steve Gaskins. One reason why there may be few tickets written is because texting while driving is a secondary offense. That means, the officer cannot pull you over and write a ticket unless the driver is doing something else wrong, in addition to texting while driving.
Drive safely and watch out for those who don't.
Personal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes represents those injured in car accidents, motorcycle crashes, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents and other types of personal injury matters. His Clearwater law firm – Perenich Caulfield Avril Noyes – is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Pinellas County. Call Attorney Matthew Noyes now at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.