Distracted Driving

On May 28, 2013, Florida became the 41st state in the nation to ban texting while driving when Governor Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 52 (SB 52), otherwise known as the "Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law."

The Bill's passage came some three years after a Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) survey asked 1,287 respondents to identify the most serious traffic safety problems in the Sunshine State and 64 percent selected distracted/inattentive driving.

Florida's texting ban attempts to address the growing national concerns about distracted driving, the behaviors motorists engage in that take their focus off operating motor vehicles.

Unlike many other states, texting while driving is a secondary offense in Florida, which means you can only be ticketed if the police officer had some other separate underlying offense to stop you for.

Attorney for Distracted Driving Tickets in Florida

If you were recently cited for texting while driving in South Florida, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel for help possibly getting your ticket dismissed. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represents clients who have received moving violations in Broward County, Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade County, and Martin County.

Fort Lauderdale traffic ticket lawyers at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. can help you achieve the most favorable resolution to your case that results in the fewest possible penalties.

Call (561) 500-5000 right now to have our attorneys provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.

Florida Distracted Driving Information Center

Back to top

Florida Distracted Driving Laws

Florida Statute § 316.305(3)(a) establishes that a person cannot operate a motor vehicle while 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 phrase "wireless communications device" is defined for purposes of this section as meaning "any handheld device used or capable of being used in a handheld manner, that is designed or intended to receive or transmit text or character-based messages, access or store data, or connect to the Internet or any communications service as defined in Florida Statute § 812.15 and that allows text communications."

Under Florida Statute § 316.305(3)(b) the aforementioned restriction does not apply to a motor vehicle operator who is:

  • Performing official duties as an operator of an authorized emergency vehicle as defined in Florida Statute § 322.01, a law enforcement or fire service professional, or an emergency medical services professional;
  • Reporting an emergency or criminal or suspicious activity to law enforcement authorities;
  • Receiving messages that are related to the operation or navigation of the motor vehicle; safety-related information, including emergency, traffic, or weather alerts; data used primarily by the motor vehicle; or radio broadcasts;
  • Using a device or system for navigation purposes;
  • Conducting wireless interpersonal communication that does not require manual entry of multiple letters, numbers, or symbols, except to activate, deactivate, or initiate a feature or function;
  • Conducting wireless interpersonal communication that does not require reading text messages, except to activate, deactivate, or initiate a feature or function; or
  • Operating an autonomous vehicle in autonomous mode.

Back to top

Distracted Driving Penalties in Florida

First-time violations of Florida Statute § 316.305(3)(a) that prohibits texting while driving are noncriminal traffic infractions punishable as nonmoving violations. Second or subsequent violations within five years of prior offenses are noncriminal traffic infractions punishable as moving violations.

In most jurisdictions, texting while driving is punishable by a $30 fine for a first offense and a $60 fine for a second or subsequent offense.

Miami-Dade County ($287), Palm Beach County ($180), and Broward County ($151) had the three highest totals for the number of first texting while driving citations issued in 2016, according to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).

Back to top

Florida Distracted Driving Resources

Distracted Driving | FDOT — Visit this section of the FDOT website to learn more about distracted driving. You can find information about FDOT's Put it Down campaign, which focuses on helping drivers understand the distracted driving law in Florida. You can also learn more about Safe Phone Zones.

Distracted Driving Awareness | FLHSMV — The FLHSMV is the state agency that oversees the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) and is responsible for issuing driver licenses, motor vehicle titles, and license plates. On this section of the FLHSMV website, you can find information about the FHP's Focus on Driving campaign. You can also view statistics for distracted driving citations and crashes.

Back to top

Find a Distracted Driving Ticket Lawyer in Florida

Were you recently cited for allegedly texting while driving in South Florida? You should contact Meltzer & Bell, P.A. before you pay that ticket. The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. are skilled traffic ticket attorneys in Fort Lauderdale, who also help individuals in West Palm Beach and other nearby communities in South Florida.

You can have our lawyers review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (561) 500-5000 or submit an online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.

Back to top

Request Your Free Consultation

* All fields are required.
Meltzer & Bell, P.A.

Lawrence Meltzer & Steven Bell

Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Super Lawyers Martindale-Hubble
Meltzer & Bell, P.A.
Palm Beach
515 N Flagler Dr #240
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
(561) 557-8686
110 SE 6th St Suite 1749
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
(954) 745-7457