By Matthew D. Emerson, personal injury attorney of Emerson Straw PL
Texting and driving is a problem in Florida. It is blamed for hundreds of accidents each year and often, those accidents result in serious injury to those involved. Now, there is a new law in the Sunshine State that makes it illegal for motorists to text and drive.
As of July 1 of this year, it is illegal to text and drive in Florida. Prior to the new law being enacted, law enforcement could only cite someone for texting and driving if the driver was pulled over for another traffic offense, such as speeding. Now, texting and driving is no longer a secondary offense, and motorists caught engaging in the behavior could face harsh penalties.
The new law is a result of House Bill 107. The inspiration for the bill was 9-year-old Logan Andrew Scherer. He was killed when a speeding motorist crashed an SUV into the back of his parent’s truck. The driver of the SUV was texting at the time. Not only was Logan killed, but his parents and sister were also hospitalized. During the 2019 legislative session, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law.
Those cited for texting and driving will receive a $30 fine for the first offense. They will also be required to pay court costs. When motorists are caught texting and driving in a school or work zone, they will face the fine and have three points added to their license.
The new texting and driving law is just one of many that were signed in during this year’s legislative session. As of October 1, drivers will not be able to hold their phone with their hands in school zones, school crossings, and active work zones. As for the texting and driving law, in most cases troopers have stated they will issue warnings throughout the remainder of the year to allow drivers to become more accustomed to it. This will not apply in all situations though, so drivers are at risk of receiving a violation if they continue to text and drive.
Matthew D. Emerson is a St. Petersburg personal injury attorney and founding member of Emerson Straw PL. The firm handles a wide variety of personal injury cases involving car accidents, medical malpractice, and nursing home abuse. For more information about Emerson Straw PL, visit Facebook and Twitter.