There are rules and regulations everywhere you look, and it’s important to be cognizant of the law. As they say, ‘Ignorance of the law is no excuse’, and a number of laws are important to know and understand.
In a series of articles, we will be explaining some of the laws with which you should probably be familiar, and today we will address distracted driving.
Driving and talking on a cell phone in the state of Florida is perfectly legal, but is it wise? How often do you observe distracted drivers who are engaged in texting or speaking on their smart devices, paying less than adequate attention to the road?
In Florida, one of the most prevalent causes of accidents is distracted driving, typically with drivers engaged on cell phones, and that’s why the Florida Highway Patrol has issued a series of tips for drivers, addressing this and other issues.
Even if you do not get into an accident or cause an accident, the ramifications of distracted driving and other bad driving habits can get you a ticket. Enough tickets and subsequent points on your license can cause a loss of driving privileges, which impacts you lifestyle, job and ability to earn a living.
If talking on your cell phone is going to distract you, don’t do it. If you absolutely must take or make a call, simply pull over. Certainly don’t take notes or look up numbers while driving, and use a hands-free device to avoid having to take your hands off the wheel.
A cell phone is useful in emergencies but it can be abused, and drivers who engage in lengthy or involved conversations are just asking for trouble.
It is very hard to concentrate on driving while you are trying to make vacation plans or comfort a friend in the hospital, and you should not engage in stressful or emotional conversations that may distract you from your primary task, which is driving your car.
Best of all, know when it is safe to talk on your cell phone- you should not talk on the cell phone during hazardous driving conditions, heavy traffic or severe weather.
If you must use your cell phone while driving, doing a few simple things might reduce your risk of accident.
Get to know your phone and its features, and use a hands-free device if possible. Make sure your phone is in easy reach and reserve phone usage for emergencies or important calls.
You can obtain additional information from the Florida Highway Patrol, and even though talking on a cell phone while driving is legal in Florida, it can result in a traffic ticket if you break a road rule or cause an accident. Keep your driving license in good status and keep your cell phone use for emergencies only when driving a car.
This series is not meant to constitute legal advice, and you should always consult an attorney when in doubt, when making life-changing legal decisions or when accused of a crime. If you have a suggestion for an article, please submit your idea in email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greg Wilson is an attorney practicing law in the greater Panama City, Florida area, with offices in Marianna, Chipley, Bonifay, Blountstown and Panama City. For more information please call Greg Wilson at 850-600-7088.