States continue to grapple with regulating cell phone use while driving, which means that related laws are frequently subject to changes and updates. 

Currently, Florida laws on cell phone use while driving are more lenient than those of many other states. In Florida, texting while driving is illegal, but talking on the phone hands-free while driving is still generally permitted. Read on for more information about recent changes to Florida laws.

Texting and Driving in Florida

Thanks to the 2021 passing of the Florida ban on texting while driving, the practice is now illegal in the State of Florida. This law applies to texting, emailing, or performing any other type of direct messaging. 

If law enforcement officers see you texting while driving, they may pull you over and issue a citation for a non-criminal traffic violation. However, law enforcement is only allowed to obtain a warrant for cell phone records if texting while driving caused an accident resulting in death or personal injury. 

Although texting and driving are illegal, Florida drivers are still legally permitted to use cell phones for purposes that are unrelated to communication, such as accessing GPS or navigation apps or reading emergency notifications like weather alerts. 

Primary Offense Upgrade

In the past, texting while driving in Florida was only a secondary offense. This meant that you could be issued a citation for texting while driving only if an officer had another reason to pull you over. 

In 2019, texting while driving was upgraded to a primary offense. Law enforcement officers can now pull drivers over simply if they suspect them of texting while operating a motor vehicle.

Being aware of changes to the law can help you avoid fines and other legal difficulties. Currently, a first offense citation of texting while driving in Florida results in a $30 fine. A second offense brings a $60 fine, a court appearance and costs, and three marks against your driver’s license.

If you are involved in a car accident while using your cell phone, you may have a personal injury case brought against you. These can have wide-ranging and potentially expensive consequences, depending on the extent of the injuries or damages.  

Talking on the Phone and Driving in Florida

Talking on the phone while driving is still legal in Florida. However, if you are involved in an accident while talking on the phone, you may be found at fault for distracted driving

In the event of an accident, your phone records could be used in court to establish fault. 

When is Talking on the Phone and Driving Illegal?

Although talking on the phone is generally legal, drivers should be aware of special exceptions. In certain areas, talking on the phone can still bring fines and citations. 

In some areas where children or workers are likely to be present, a higher degree of care is expected of drivers. 

These include: 

  • School zones
  • School crossings
  • Active work zones

The penalty for talking on the phone while driving in these areas is immediately equivalent to a second offense texting citation—a minimum fine of $60 along with court costs and three marks against the license. 

Know the Risks of Cell Phone Use While Driving

Although Florida laws are more lenient than those of many other states, any form of cell phone use while operating a vehicle can contribute to distracted driving. The consequences of using a cell phone while driving can range from a small fine to a fatal accident

While talking on the phone is still legal in Florida, it’s also distracting and potentially dangerous. Drivers should minimize distractions from cellular devices while operating a vehicle. 

Contact the Tampa Car Accident Law Firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today

For more information, please contact the legal team of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation with a car accident lawyer in Tampa. We have four convenient locations in Florida: Clearwater, New Port Richey, and Tampa.

We serve throughout Pinellas County, Hillsborough County, Pasco County, and its surrounding areas:

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
1811 N. Belcher Road, Suite I-1
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 787-2500

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Congress Ave Office
2360 Congress Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33763
(727) 591-5610

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
6601 Memorial Hwy Suite 202
Tampa, FL 33615
(813) 686-7588

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
2515 Seven Springs Blvd.
New Port Richey, FL, 34655
(727) 815-8442