Texting and driving – an epidemic responsible for 1 in 4 car accidents – will officially be classified as a primary traffic offense in Florida starting on July 1, 2019. Prior to the passage of this new law, texting and driving was a secondary offense, meaning you could not be pulled over for it. Now, law enforcement has the power to stop and ticket solely for a texting and driving violation. This new law bans as a primary offense all forms of typing on a wireless device while driving, which includes texting, e-mailing and instant messaging. Using your cell phone to read text messages and e-mails while driving is also prohibited.
Officially codified as an amendment to Florida Statute § 316.305, the new law reads that, “A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data on such a device…” Florida now joins 44 other states in making texting and driving a primary offense. The law passed through Congress by an overwhelming majority – 108-7 in the House of Representatives and 33-5 in the Senate – before being signed into law by Governor DeSantis.