May 4th, 2012 - by DKRPA
Most Florida drivers have been there: while behind the wheel, your phone bleeps after receiving a text message. Under current Florida law, it doesn’t matter if you read that text or not — you could respond to it as well, if you are so compelled. The act of texting while driving is not illegal in the state.
However, reckless or careless driving is illegal, and a lot can happen in the two or three seconds that pass from when you pick up your cell phone to the next time you are focused on the road. The car in front of you could have suddenly hit the brakes. A car next to you could have tried to merge into your lane. A pedestrian could have attempted to cross the street.
If you are swerving all over the road because you are reading a text message, or if your driving is sloppy because your focus is not on your driving (and instead on a cell phone, the radio or some other distraction) you can still be ticketed.
Collier County, Florida is making a big push to reduce distracted driving in their area. They may have been motivated by last month’s Distracted Driving Awareness push, but the major cause for Collier County’s crackdown on distracted driving is a road where 28 car crashes, six of which were fatal.
It may be a while before any texting while driving bans are enacted in Florida, but the consequences of such an action are apparent to all drivers.
Source: Injury Board, “Without Charges for Distracted Driving, Florida Police Will Issue Tickets for ‘Careless Driving,'” Orman Kimbrough, April 18, 2012