We see it all the time—a driver looks away from the road ever so briefly to send a quick text, shuffle their playlist, or check the directions. A moment later, they’re sitting in a cloud of smoke after rear-ending the driver in front of them. Maybe this has even happened to someone you know.

Texting and driving is a major cause of car accidents, and under scrutiny across the country.

In Florida, legislators have taken steps to prevent accidents, injuries, and loss of life by making the behavior illegal. Read on to see how new texting and driving laws in Florida can affect you.

What is the Fine for Texting and Driving in Florida?

As of January 1, 2020, texting and driving is illegal in the state of Florida,[^1] as are similar smartphone-related distracted driving behaviors. Florida’s distracted driving law allows drivers to still use their mobile phone to answer calls, navigate via GPS, and read emergency alerts; however, the new law that bans texting and driving also extends to other kinds of typing on a mobile handheld device, such as:

  • Emailing

  • Taking notes

  • Using social media

  • Browsing the internet

Florida law enforcement has been instructed to stop Florida drivers if they even suspect that these behaviors are taking place behind the wheel of a moving motor vehicle.

As for the penalty, it increases every time an individual is caught by law enforcement engaging in the same behavior. First-time offenders are subject to a $30 primary offense fine, while repeat offenders are subject to a $60 fine and three points on their driver’s license.[^2]

The point system assigns relative values to various infractions, meaning a minor offense will earn fewer points against your driving record than a more serious offense. In Florida, careless driving behaviors like texting and driving earn three points against your driver’s license, while leaving the scene of a car accident without providing insurance information merits six points.[^3] If you accumulate 12 points within the span of 12 months, your license will be suspended for 30 days.

Why Florida Texting and Driving Fines Exist

Florida banned texting and driving to prioritize motorists’ safety. Distracted driving is proven to increase the risk of a motor vehicle crash, with texting and driving as the worst violation of all. It’s thought to be the most dangerous form of distracted driving because it involves a combination of visual, manual, and mental distractions.[^4]

Texting and driving laws are especially relevant to Florida drivers between the ages of 20 and 29. Accident data shows that drivers in this age group are the most likely to be involved in a fatal car accident while using their mobile phone.[^5]

That being said, fatal car crashes aren’t the only thing that texting and driving laws are designed to prevent. Haven’t we all watched a light turn green but the car in front of us just doesn’t seem to move?

The ban is also meant to reduce:

  • Traffic delays

  • Unsafe driving conditions

  • Personal injury

  • Damage to roads and other vehicles

  • Accidents or near-accidents

How Texting and Driving Affects Your Car Insurance

As the primary cause of so many collisions, texting and driving has a major impact on car insurance. If you’re involved in an accident while texting, you could face a substantial increase to your monthly insurance premium, in addition to the fine and points on your license.

However, because of the Florida no-fault law, texting and driving can affect your insurance even if you’re not the one sending an “On my way” text message or firing off a Snapchat.

Following an accident, the no-fault law requires both drivers to make claims through their own auto insurance companies, regardless of who caused it. This is different from other states where both drivers make claims only through the insurance company of the individual at fault.

Insurance coverage is different in Florida than in many other states. Minimum car insurance Florida includes:[^6]

  • $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP), which covers 80 percent of medical expenses up to $10,000 from a crash-related injury no matter who’s at fault

  • $10,000 in Personal Damage Liability (PDL), which pays for damage caused to another driver’s property

PIP is supposed to make it easier for all injured parties to receive medical treatment[^7] but it can also result in higher insurance premiums for entire no-fault states because insured motorists are paying less out of pocket even when they’re responsible for accidents and injuries. And even though insurance companies shouldn’t raise your premiums when you’re involved in no-fault crashes, that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t.

With the wrong insurance company, you could pay the price for someone else’s poor judgment.

How To Find The Cheapest Car Insurance in Florida

What is the cheapest car insurance in Florida? Auto insurance can be more expensive in no-fault states, meaning it’s especially important to find an affordable insurance provider in Florida.

To make sure you have all of the necessary insurance coverage at the best rates, check out Online Auto Insurance. You can get fast and free car insurance quotes in your area, and easily compare rates across multiple providers.

Plus, OAI is a one-stop-shop for helpful information about more than just prices. What is the best car insurance in Florida for seniors? How long do you have to register a car in Florida? What kinds of optional coverage are available? And of course, *what’s the best insurance company for me? *

Online Auto Insurance makes it simple to find the right amount of coverage for your situation, plus our live agents can answer any questions you have. Start saving today! All it takes is a couple of minutes and a few clicks of a button, and you’re ready to go.

**Sources: **

FIU News. Florida bans texting while driving. https://news.fiu.edu/2020/florida-bans-texting-while-driving

FLHSMV. Points & Point Suspensions. \ https://www.flhsmv.gov/driver-licenses-id-cards/driver-license-suspensions-revocations/points-point-suspensions/

FLHSMV. Florida Insurance Requirements. https://www.flhsmv.gov/insurance/

Florida Physical Medicine. Florida is a No-Fault State. What Does That Mean? \ https://floridaphysicalmedicine.com/florida-no-fault-state/