Florida Texting and Driving Law Takes Effect July 1, 2019

By David Rutman, Traffic Attorney

Florida police can now pull over and ticket drivers alleged to be texting while driving. That already had been illegal in Florida for a few years, but  was a “secondary” offense, meaning police had to first claim violation of  another law (such as running a stop sign while texting.)

Now, if police see a driver texting, even though not committing another infraction, they can pull over the driver and issue a ticket. Police cannot confiscate a phone when issuing a texting ticket, though. The first few months of enforcement will involve only warnings, but then fines will take effect. The initial fine could be as low as $30, but would not carry points.  A repeat offense within five years is branded a moving violation: the fine starts at $60, with a risk of three points on a license.

This does not apply to talking on the phone while driving, or using a GPS app, or any other activity beyond texting. And a driver can still text while the car is not moving, such as at a red light.

Also, it is also now illegal to simply hold a phone at all in school zones or construction zones while workers are present. This also may be treated as a moving violation with possible assessment of points.