Stopped, or at a Red Light—Can I Send a Quick Text?

We all have that friend or family member who rarely picks up their phone or returns a text. These are the people you probably don’t have to worry about on the road; however, most of us have a great sense of urgency overall during the day with places to go, so much to do, and often an overwhelming amount of communication interrupting our activities. This can lead to multi-tasking in the car while we are away from the office or home, even with so many warnings today regarding the dangers of texting while behind the wheel. In the US, over 1,000 people are hurt and 8 people killed each day because of distracted driving.

Behind the Wheel? The Phone Can Wait!

According to the Florida DMV, in the time that you take just to look at a text while driving, you’ve traveled nearly 290 feet. It’s frightening to think of all that could potentially happen during those seconds, and distance, while your eyes are off the road. But what about when you are at a complete stop? Many of us are often tempted to use that extra one to two minutes to make a call or answer a text, making the most of our time in a busy day; or, you may just be bored sitting at the light. And while it’s not illegal in Florida to text while stopped, this is still highly distracted behavior that could have negative consequences.

Texting & Driving is Illegal in Florida

As of July 1, 2013, Florida Statute 316.305 (also known as the ‘Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law’) made it illegal to text while operating a motor vehicle, with fines being introduced for such infractions. Currently if you are cited for texting while you are driving your car, the first violation is $30 and the second is $60. Points may be added to your license, your insurance rates may increase, and the bottom line is that texting in the car is not worth it in any case.

Texting at Red Lights May Be Legal, But Still a Bad Idea

If you are stopped or stationary at a red light, by Florida law you are not considered to be ‘operating’ the vehicle. That doesn’t mean that taking your eyes off the road and becoming engrossed in a text, email, or message of any sort is a good idea though. Distracted drivers often tend to drift along slowly, or stop and start—and at a red light, this adds to the potential danger of being rear-ended in traffic. It’s also easier to become confused and go just because you see other, parallel traffic moving ahead. Once drivers get used to texting at a red light or a stop sign, they may begin to carry that behavior over while traveling at slower speeds, and eventually in regular traffic too.

Watch Out for Other Distracted Drivers

It may seem awfully important to respond to a friend or family member while on the road, but nearly any message can wait while you take time to get to your destination, or pull over in the meantime. Giving your full attention to the road also means engaging in defensive driving. If you see another driver obviously engaged in distracted driving, be sure to slow your speed and give them a wide berth. If they are weaving dangerously and endangering other drivers, it may even be necessary to call 911.

Contact Us If You Have Been Injured

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 your enjoyment and informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.