According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are about ten million drivers in the United States who use their cell phones while driving. Such drivers will be found on their phones texting other people as they drive a practice that has so far caused many accidents on the roads. This has prompted many states to come up with laws that prohibit the practice of texting while driving.
The Law in Florida
In Florida, the laws are under Florida Statute 316.305 Wireless-Communications Devices Prohibition. Here, the law prevents drivers from operating a motor vehicle while typing or punching multiple letters, symbols, numbers, or other characters into a wireless communications gadget. It also prohibits them from reading and sending data on such devices for nonvoice interpersonal communications. Such kinds of communications include texting, instant messaging, and e-mailing. The laws are not only directed at cell phones but also to other handheld devices that transmit or receive text or character-based messages, receive or store data. Those that can access the internet are included among such devices as well. The law does not, however, include stationary vehicles.
Purpose of the Law
The purpose of the law is to improve road safety for vehicle operators, cyclists, pedestrians, vehicle passengers, and other road users. Any person who violates these rules, will be arrested as a law enforcement officer is allowed to stop your motor vehicle, and issue citations as a secondary offense to anybody caught driving while texting. A victim of such drivers can go to court and sue for injuries, death of a loved one and for that, they may need a qualified personal injury lawyer. People go to court when there has been property damage.
Other states have followed suit and outlawed the practice of driving while texting or have banned it for just some drivers. In such states, you can only talk on your phone while driving if you are talking to medical personnel, the fire department, or during an emergency.
Seven states have outrightly banned handheld cell phones while driving, and they include Washington, Oregon, New Jersey, Maryland, California, and Connecticut. All of the above states except Maryland allow for “primary enforcement of an offense.” That means police are authorized to pull the driver over just for using your cell phone.
46 States Outlaw Texting While Driving
A total of 46 states have banned text messaging when driving so far. Guam and Washington DC have banned the practice of texting while driving. In Hawaii, the prohibition on texting is a primary law along with a ban on handheld devices for all ages. Oklahoma also banned texting while driving for drivers of all ages while enforcing a handheld ban for drivers with learner’s permits or intermediate licenses. Drivers within state vehicles in North Carolina are also not supposed to use handheld devices while driving. Novice drivers are not supposed to use cell phones, and that includes hands-free and handheld, and that is a primary law. There is a blanket law on texting for drivers of all ages in the state.