There are texting and driving laws in 48 states, and 44 of those states have primary enforcement, meaning you can get pulled over. In fact, Montana is the only state that has not implemented a statewide ban on texting and driving.
Cell phone laws can vary significantly from state to state, and they are constantly changing, making it challenging to keep up with the latest regulations. In July 2019, Governor DeSantis signed an updated hands-free law in Florida. Violating this law carries penalties that can impact your wallet, and the impact on your insurance premium could be crippling, especially in the event of an accident. If you are a resident driver or a visitor just passing through, this is what you need to know about hands-free laws in Florida.
Understanding Cell Phone Driving Laws
Florida's Wireless Communications While Driving Law, section 316.305, prohibits drivers from using handheld devices while driving and, as a primary offense, allows law enforcement to pull over and cite drivers who violate the law. The penalties can be steep, and they can be classified as moving violations, which can cause insurance premiums to soar. Drivers who violate the law in school or work zones face the stiffest penalties. The law states a person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, or symbols into a wireless communications device to text, email, and instant message. Additionally, section 316.306 of the Florida Statutes states that using wireless communications devices in a handheld manner in a school and work zone is prohibited.
Penalties For Violating Texting and Driving Law in Florida
Florida's hands-free laws have penalties that can have a negative impact on your wallet and a lasting impact on your car insurance premiums. A three-point assessment is made for each driver to determine the penalty:
First-time offenders of Florida's hands-free law are pulled over and cited with a non-moving traffic violation, and no points are assessed against the driver's license. This carries a base fine of $30 fine and likely includes additional court costs or other fees.
If you violate the law more than once within five years, the penalties are harsher. You are cited with a moving traffic violation, a base $60 fine, not including court costs and other fees, and 3 points assessed against the driver's license.
Any Offense in School or Work Zones
Violating the law in a school or work zone carries the maximum penalty, whether it's your first offense or second. In a posted zone, you will be cited with a moving traffic violation, a base $60 fine, not including court costs and other fees, and 3 points assessed against the driver's license. These penalties can have a lasting impact, resulting in higher insurance premiums, and points on your driving record can exclude you from certain types of work.
When You Can Use Your Phone While Driving
The hands-free driving laws in Florida are strict, but there are a few exceptions - like reporting criminal activity or emergencies. You can also receive safety-related messages, such as weather alerts, and navigational information. So basically, you can use your device hands-free, using Bluetooth, making voice commands to make calls, or viewing and listening to navigation instructions. Still, your device cannot be in your hand; if it is, you are subject to being pulled over and cited.
Put Safety First With Cell Phone Seat
In today's world, most people rely heavily on their personal devices. With the rise of gig work, improved navigation technology, and our ever-growing dependence on these devices, your cell phone is always with you, even in the car when driving. While it may never be 100% safe, even with hands-free and Bluetooth, it can be safer. With a cell phone holder, like Cell Phone Seat, you can easily get the information you need while driving without violating handheld laws and risking your safety.
Cell Phone Seat gives you the confidence to use your cell phone device in a hands-free manner that is compliant with state laws while keeping you connected and traveling in the right direction. Learn more about Cell Phone Seat here.