Texting and Driving Accidents

Governor Ron DeSantis reported that in 2016, there were nearly 50,000 vehicle accidents caused by distracted driving in Florida, resulting in 233 deaths. In July 2019, a bill went into effect allowing the police to pull over drivers who are texting and driving.

The hope is that this law will discourage texting while driving and reduce the accidents, injuries, and deaths this practice often causes. However, as with any hazard on the road, laws are no guarantee of your safety. At the law firm of Dunlap Ravis & Miller in Jacksonville, FL, we have been helping accident victims since 2002 by offering free initial consultations and seeking maximum restitution for injuries suffered in an accident. A texting and driving lawyer can prove negligence by applying their knowledge of the law to the facts of your case. We listen to your needs and work hard to help you collect the compensation you deserve.

texting and driving
Drivers who take their eyes off the road even for a matter of seconds can place pedestrians and other motorists in grave danger.

Florida's Texting And Driving Laws

Under the new law, a person cannot drive while manually typing multiple characters into any wireless device to email, text, or send an instant message. It is also a violation to use a wireless device by holding it in your hand in both school zones and work zones in which workers are present. A first texting and driving offense is punishable by a $30 fine, not including court costs and other expenses. A second offense brings a $60 fine and three points against your license. Violating the texting and driving laws in a school or work zone is punishable by a $60 fine and three points against your driver's license, regardless of whether it is a first or subsequent offense.

There are a few exceptions. A driver is allowed to use a device to navigate, report an emergency, or receive safety notifications regarding weather and other dangerous conditions. However, it is important to note that in a school zone or work zone, only hands-free navigation functions are permitted.

What Should I Do If I Am Injured by a Distracted Driver?

First, get out of harm's way. If you are able, pull the car off the road. As soon as possible, call 911. Once authorities arrive on the scene, don't refuse medical attention, even if you think you were not hurt. You should also exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver, but keep your communication to a minimum. For example, many of us may feel compelled to apologize after an accident, even if you know it wasn't your fault. However, doing so may be seen as an admission of guilt later. 

When you have an attorney on your side, you stand a far greater chance of collecting what you are actually owed.

Next, call an attorney. You can expect that you will hear from the other driver's insurance company soon, but be warned that the adjustor is most likely going to try and convince you to settle for an amount of compensation that is far below what you actually need in order to make up for your losses. When you have an attorney on your side who can handle this communication, you stand a far greater chance of collecting what you are actually owed.

How To Avoid Texting and Driving

Just like stopping at a red light or stop sign is the driver’s responsibility, so is the decision not to text while driving. Because of the spotlight that is often placed on texting and driving, there are plenty of resources available to help cut down on this dangerous driving habit. For example:

  • Other passengers: If you are expecting an important message, ask one of your passengers to keep an eye on your phone. If you wish to respond, dictate your answer to them so that you can focus on the road.
  • Parents: Many smartphones are now equipped with safeguards that allow a parent to disable texting features when their child is driving, and parents can also help educate their children about the dangers of texting while driving through online materials and courses.
  • Hands-free devices: There are many affordable and easy-to-use accessories that can allow you to both hear and reply to text messages without having to take your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel.

Contact Us

If you have been hurt by a driver who was texting behind the wheel, let us help. Contact us online, or at (904) 358-2020. We are affiliated with the Florida Bar Justice Association, Jacksonville Justice Association, the Florida Bar, and the West Virginia State Bar. Let us put our knowledge to work for you.

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