Texting While Driving is Dangerous and Banned in the State of Florida
If you have ever been inside a moving vehicle, whether on a slow-moving street or a fast-paced interstate, chances are you have witnessed another driver texting from behind the wheel of their car.
The danger of texting while driving is well known, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration points to the practice being even more dangerous than operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol. Yet it continues to happen each day.
In the State of Florida, texting while driving is banned for all drivers, and is a primary enforcement law, which means if a law enforcement officer witnesses a driver texting while driving, they may immediately pull the driver over without further cause and issue a citation.
According to the National Council for State Legislators, there are only three states that have not banned texting and driving completely, and they are Arizona, Montana, and Missouri, with the latter only banning drivers under the age of 21 from the practice.
Commercial Truck Drivers Are Banned From Texting and Driving Nationwide
The good news is, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation commercial truck drivers are banned from texting while driving. Not unlike passenger car drivers, the ban that is in effect may not be stopping them from the practice.
And the only thing that can be more terrifying than witnessing a car’s driver text from behind the wheel is watching a truck driver take their eyes off the road to do the same. The sheer size of a semi-truck causes anxiety on the roadways, and if you catch a truck driver negligently operating one of these large vehicles, it is cause for great concern — for your safety, and that everyone on the road.
How Are Commercial Truck Drivers Penalized for Texting While Driving Violations?
Drivers who are texting in Vero Beach, Florida are initially penalized with a citation that requires a fine to be paid. Money is a motivator, and when certain acts require drivers to pay a fine, they may think twice about doing it again.
What happens when a commercial truck driver is caught texting and driving?
- The driver can be fined up to $2,750
- The driver’s employer, the actual carrier, can be fined up to $11,000
- The driver is penalized with a violation of ten points against their Commercial Driver’s License — which is some states could mean an automatic suspension
- Commercial motor vehicle drivers with multiple driving while texting convictions may result in disqualification by the FMCSA
What Should I Do If I Notice a Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Texting?
Trucking companies and carriers often print their contact information on the actual truck, which allows you to clearly identify it and report the driver for unsafe driving. Do not put yourself in jeopardy to retrieve this information. If it is readily available, record it to memory and contact the company once you have reached your destination. There may be a formal report process you have to follow, but it will be worth it to know the complaint is on file.
If a truck driver is recklessly operating their large vehicle, pull over and dial 911.
Tell the dispatcher where you are and provide details that will help law enforcement identify the truck. 911 is reserved for emergencies, so it is important to only call if you feel this driver is putting other drivers in real danger by recklessly operating their vehicle.
If you have been hurt in an accident with a distracted or texting driver, contact our experienced personal injury attorney in Indian River County at the Law Offices of Keith Bregoff, P.A. today by calling (772) 492-8967 to schedule a free consultation.