Though many of us might not want to admit it, most of us text while driving. Despite the dangers that texting and driving presents, in 2016, Florida had seen close to 50,000 accidents caused by distracted driving, which resulted in 233 deaths. The dangers that come with distracted driving are all too real. The average response to a text message takes 4.6 seconds to compose. If a driver is going 55 miles per hour and is looking at his/her phone, that equates to traveling the length of a football field blindfolded.
In 2013, the “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving” law was passed and made texting and driving a secondary offense in the State of Florida. Meaning, you could not be pulled over and ticketed for distracted driving unless you were also breaking another law, like speeding or if you had caused an accident. On July 1, 2019, Governor Ron Desantis signed a bill that has made texting and driving a primary offense. This means drivers can officially be pulled over for texting while driving. This new law also bans the use of all handheld wireless communications devices in school and construction zones. While the bill officially went into effect on October 1, 2019, law enforcement will only be giving warnings to any offender until January 1, 2020.
An aspect of texting and driving that most drivers don’t consider, though, is their insurance policies. How does texting and driving affect your car insurance? Depending on the state, the consequences drivers face can vary.
Most drivers don't even stop to think about how texting while driving might affect their insurance premium. But in many states, being ticketed for texting and driving can seriously impact your insurance policy. In Florida, texting while driving is typically enforced through tickets. The first offense will result in a $30 fine and doubling to $60 for your second offense. If you receive too many citations, your insurance premium will likely increase. Not only will you face fines, but distracted driving citations can remain on your driving record for up to five years, which might affect your ability to get insurance at a reasonable price. If you are already considered a high-risk driver, your insurance premium could increase significantly.
To avoid putting yourself and others in a dangerous situation, remember to put your phone in a safe spot where you can’t see or hear it. This will help you stay focused and get to your destination safely. If you have questions about texting and driving or car insurance in Central Florida, contact us at Harrell Insurance. We are happy to be your go-to insurance agent located here in Downtown Kissimmee!