Yesterday, May 28, 2013 the Governor signed into law SB-52 a ban on texting while driving in Florida. A violation of the texting law is a non-moving violation and can only be enforced as a secondary offense. This means you must be pulled over for another reason other than texting. A driver charged with violating the law is subject to six points if there is a crash or two additional points if the primary moving violation occurred within a school zone.
Under the new law, a person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering data or while sending or reading data for the purpose of nonvoice interpersonal communication. A motor vehicle that is stationary is not being operated for purposes of the texting ban and is not subject to the law. Therefore, texting while at a red light should still be legal. The law goes into effect in October and has not been tested; therefore, nobody can know how a court will interpret the new texting ban statute.
The big-brother aspect of the law has been toned down from previous versions. Now law enforcement can obtain your cell phone records in a crash resulting in death or bodily injury. In other versions any alleged violation would allow the government access to your cellular phone billing records.
The law still has exceptions that in my opinion go against the supposed spirit of the law. Weather alerts, radio broadcasts, navigation, initiation or deactivation of a feature, or reporting suspicious or criminal activities are all exempt. So it is okay to enter data into your GPS. What if your phone is your GPS? Texting is okay if you are reporting a crime, a weather or emergency alert, but not if your dinner date is late. Texting is excepted if a driver is performing “official duties as an operator of an authorized emergency vehicle”.
If you or a loved one is accused under the new “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law”, or any other traffic offense, please click or call for representation in your case. I offer free consultations in all traffic and criminal matters.