As of tomorrow, October 1, it will be illegal to text while driving. Advocates for safer streets have been lobbying for this for years (nod to Florida Bicycle Association, CommuteOrlando), but we’ve only now joined the 41 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgina Islands to make it illegal. There are still some glaring loopholes that set us apart.
In Florida, texting while driving is only a secondary offense, meaning law enforcement can’t pull you over solely for the action. The ticket itself is only $30, but multiple offenses become moving violations and add points to your license/ raise your insurance premiums.
In Florida, it remains just fine to text or drop an email when you’re at a red light - which sounds okay until you realize that motorists are obliged to check for people still in crosswalks as well as green lights. It’s also fine to take calls, change your Pandora station or use Google Maps.
If you’re like most people, you think you’re better than the average driver and don’t know you’re four times more likely to get into a serious collision (re: hurt yourself, not just your car) when you reach for the phone. Be careful out there. And please, put the phone down.
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