Florida’s Cellphone-Use & Texting-While-Driving Laws

Read about Florida’s distracted driving laws and the costs of a violation.

Florida’s distracted driving law—called the “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law”—prohibits all motorists from text messaging while operating a vehicle. This article covers the specifics of the law and the costs of a texting ticket.

Talking on a Cellphone

Florida currently has no restrictions on making or receiving calls or talking on a phone while driving.

Text Messaging

Florida’s distracted driving law prohibits all motorists from using a wireless communication device to write, send, or read a text message, including instant messages and email. Basically, a “wireless communication device” includes all cellphones, tablets, and similar devices that are capable of text-based communications or connecting to the Internet.

Exceptions. Florida’s texting-while-driving law contains a number of exceptions. The law doesn’t apply to:

  • hands-free or voice-operated device use
  • to emergency services personnel (including medical professionals and police) performing official duties
  • anyone using a device to report an emergency or criminal activity
  • receiving navigation or safety-related information (like weather or traffic alerts) or radio broadcasts, or
  • using a device for navigation purposes (GPS).

Penalties. Texting-while-driving is a noncriminal traffic infraction in Florida. A texting ticket might cost the driver between $100 and $200.

Depending on the circumstances, a texting violation could also lead to a reckless driving conviction. And if a texting offense results in the death of another person, vehicular homicide charges are a possibility.

Enforcement. Starting July 1, 2019, texting violations will be “primary” offenses—meaning an officer can pull a driver over just for a texting violation. In other words, an officer doesn’t need some other reason (like speeding or running a red light) for making the traffic stop. However, officers must inform drivers they stop that they are not required to turn over their devices for inspection.

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