Flagler County Sheriff James L. Manfre and the Florida Highway Patrol reminded drivers Tuesday that it is against the law to text while driving, starting in October. The Sheriff noted, though, that the anti-texting law does make texting a secondary offense, meaning that an officer or deputy has to see you, “…breaking some other law first.” The new law also “…does not prohibit drivers from using devices while stopped in traffic or at traffic lights.” The law also does not apply to, “…the reporting of emergency, criminal or suspicious activity to law enforcement authorities. Also exempt is the use of a device for navigation purposes, or safety-related information, including emergency, traffic or weather alerts.”
The law does prohibit operating, “…a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a handheld wireless device or sending or reading data on such a device for the purpose of non-voice interpersonal communication.”
In addition, the Florida Highway Patrol emphasized that, “Sending or receiving a text distracts a driver for an average of nearly five seconds. Traveling at a speed of 55 miles per hour, that’s the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.”
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office says first-time texters will face a fine of $30, and subsequent convictions within a five-year period will put a moving violation on your driving record, along with a fine of $60. In a press release, Sheriff Manfre said, “I’m happy the new law banning texting while driving has gone into effect, I hope it accomplishes its intended purpose and can significantly reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents occurring each year that are often attributable to distracted driving.”
Click here to visit the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office website.
Click here to visit the FHP Distracted Driving website.
Click here to review the new law at the Florida Statutes website.
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