Texting while driving became illegal in Florida in 2019. Yet figures show that police issue few tickets for texting behind the wheel. They only gave 3,174 during 2020. They issued more for driving in the carpool lane without passengers. That is of danger to no one.
Some Florida police authorities issued zero tickets for texting
The report shows that some police authorities in the state-issued no tickets at all for texting:
- Six counties issued zero texting tickets.
- 30 municipal police departments issued zero texting tickets.
- 100 law enforcement agencies issued fewer than 10 texting tickets.
Does that mean drivers do not use their phones in some areas? Unlikely.
Officers gave twice as many tickets on highways than urban streets
The data shows the Florida Highway Patrol gave out one-third of all texting tickets in the state. Think about where people are most likely to text. It is in urban areas, not on the highway. People pull out their phones when crawling along in traffic. Or they use them to tell someone to wait on the street as they are a hundred meters away.
Is Florida’s texting law enforceable?
Many argue the law is too hard for law officers to enforce. In some states, there is a total ban on holding your phone while behind the wheel. In Florida, the law makes several exceptions:
- You can use your phone to talk, provided you are not in a school or construction zone.
- You can use your phone to text as long as you are not in motion.
- You can use your phone to navigate.
The exceptions give drivers excuses when stopped by the police. Police have no way of checking if they are telling the truth. To look at someone’s phone, they need a warrant.
So are the police not bothering to enforce the law?
The report does not look at whether some law officials have decided not to bother stopping drivers. Or whether they are stopping drivers but not issuing tickets. What is certain is that using a phone while driving is dangerous. Crash statistics pinpoint it as a significant factor in vehicle crashes every year.
If another driver crashes into you, consider if they were using their phone. It could help your compensation claim.