Driving Change: Starting July 1 Florida Drivers Can Be Ticketed for Texting and Driving
Starting July 1, 2019 police throughout the state can stop and ticket drivers for texting behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill earlier this summer making texting and driving a primary offense in the state of Florida, which means officers can pull you over if they catch you typing on your phone while the car is moving. A first offense will have a $30 fine, and a second offense will have a $60 fine. There will be a grace period through January to help inform residents of the new law. Warnings will be written during the grace period.
Florida is one of only four states left to make texting and driving a primary offense.
The law describes texting as “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 for the purpose of nonvoice interpersonal communication, including, but not limited to, communication methods known as texting, e-mailing, and instant messaging.”
The law lists exceptions to when you can be on your phone, as long as it’s not in a school zone or work zone where you can’t use your phone at all. Starting July 1, it will be illegal to hold or use your phone in construction or school zones.
Under the new law, you are still permitted to use Bluetooth and GPS in the car.
Florida’s New Texting and Driving Law: Quick Facts
- Starting July 1, 2019 police throughout the state can stop and ticket drivers for texting behind the wheel of a moving vehicle (exceptions: using GPS, emergency phone calls or alerts).
- You can use your phone when the vehicle is stopped.
- You are permitted to use Bluetooth and GPS (unless you’re in a school zone or construction zone).
- You cannot use your phone at all in a school zone or construction zone.
- A first offense will have a $30 fine, and a second offense will have a $60 fine.
- Officers are expected to write warnings through January to help create awareness about the new law.
Florida’s New Texting and Driving Law: Frequently Asked Questions
- Is texting and driving illegal in Florida? Yes, starting July 1, 2019, texting and driving is illegal in Florida. You can receive a ticket for texting and driving if the vehicle is moving. You can still use the GPS and Bluetooth features on the phone, even if the car is in motion. You cannot use any phone features in school zones and construction zones. You can use the phone normally when stopped at a red light.
- Can you text at a red light in Florida? Yes, it is legal to text when the vehicle is not in motion, which includes when you are stopped at a red light.
- Can you get a ticket in Florida for texting and driving? You can get a ticket in Florida for texting and driving after July 1, 2019.
- Can you talk on the phone and drive in Florida? Yes, you can talk and drive on the phone in Florida. There are no laws prohibiting drivers or passengers from talking on cell phones while driving.
- How much is a texting and driving ticket in Florida? The ticket cost for texting and driving in Florida is a $30 fine. A second offense carries a $60 fine. An officer can also use his or her discretion and write you a warning instead of a ticket.