Florida Drivers: When is it Okay to Use Your Smartphone While Behind the Wheel?

Today’s distracted drivers have created a whole new category of problems and concerns on the roadway. These troublesome drivers come in many different forms. The distracted driver who is eating, drinking, and looking everywhere but the road has been around since the advent of the automobile, unfortunately. They may even be grooming—brushing their hair, applying lipstick, and more. Passengers may be distracting the driver, as well as other factors.

Often weather and other drivers play a factor in diminishing the focus of the driver. But the smartphone has become a central focus of problems. Not only are many distracted drivers today busy talking on the phone, but they may be in the habit of texting too—putting everyone else on the road in further danger.

Many motorists are extremely conscientious, however, and along with being safe—they also don’t want to be involved in illegal activity. Like many other states today, Florida has banned texting and driving, with the intent to save lives—and not only of motorists but also individuals walking, riding bicycles, and sharing the road. The ban on texting was also created in the hopes that there would be less property damage from accidents, along with a reduction in costs for both car and health insurance.

Many drivers may be surprised to find, however, that there are some cases where you would not be penalized for having the cellphone in hand while behind the wheel. Examples include:

  • Calling law enforcement to inform them of an emergency or criminal activity
  • Activities ‘related to the operation or navigation of the motor vehicle’
  • Engaging in seeking information related to city traffic, weather, or emergency issues
  • Listening to the radio
  • Using a device with ‘wireless interpersonal communication’ that is hands-free
  • When operating a self-driving vehicle

Obviously, it can already be very difficult for law enforcement to prove that someone was texting and driving, unless they caught them in the act. It’s hoped that motorists would not abuse the latitude allowed for activities like navigating or seeking emergency information. For those who are caught texting while driving, penalties include fines, points on the driver’s license—and repeat offenders may eventually lose their right to drive.

Have you or a loved one suffered injury due to a distracted driver’s negligence? If so, it is important to hire an experienced personal injury law firm that will look out for the needs of you and your family. The lawyers at Heintz & Becker have been helping clients in the Bradenton-Sarasota area for over 30 years with car, truck and motorcycle injury accidents, as well as cases involving other forms of negligence. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

 

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.