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Texting and Driving

by Brandy D. Rood, Esquire

Talking on your cell phone while driving is banned in 14 states including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Virginia. However, in Florida, talking on a cell phone is not banned. Research shows that drivers who talk on a cell phone while driving are four times more likely to be involved in a crash.

Texting and driving is banned in 46 states, including Florida. In Florida, if you manually type a text message or read a text message while driving, you commit a noncriminal traffic infraction and can receive a ticket. Texting while driving involves manual, visual, and cognitive distraction simultaneously. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that's like driving the length of an entire football field blindfolded.

The definition of texting in the Florida statute 316.305 allows you to use your cell phone as long as you are not manually typing. What that means is you can use voice-to-text programs to send text messages.  Studies have shown that the impact of using a hands-free phone on driving performance was not found to differ from the impact of using a hand-held phone. Researchers believe what distracts the driver is the withdrawal of attention from the processing of information in the driving environment while engaging in the cell phone conversation. Florida’s prohibition against only manual typing addresses some aspect of distracted driving  but, according to the research, may not go far enough.   

If you have been injured as the result of a distracted driver, contact our firm for a free consultation with an attorney.