In Florida, texting while driving is already banned. However, police were not yet citing drivers with official tickets. Instead, drivers had a six-month grace period that lasted until January 1, 2020. Law enforcement officials have been giving drivers warning tickets for texting while driving. Previously, police officers were not allowed to pull over a driver for texting while driving, but could cite a driver if they stopped the driver for another infraction. The law changed in July, allowing the police to stop vehicles for texting alone, but extended a grace period in which they will issue only verbal or written warnings.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, they issued about 1,087 warnings from July 1, 2019 through December 19, 2019. An additional 1,220 citations were issued throughout Florida by other law enforcement agencies. Now, drivers will be issued actual citations rather than warnings. Fines for a first offense are $30 plus court costs and $60 for a second offense. If you receive a ticket for texting in a school or work zone, the fine increases to $60 and you will also get three points on your driving record.
Does the Law Apply to Golf Carts?
Golf carts are also known as “Low Speed Vehicles” (LSV). In Brevard County, LSVs are called Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs) when you operate them on public streets. An NEV is a “self-propelled electrically powered motor vehicle which is emission-free, designed to be operated at a maximum speed of 25 MPH, has a weight of less than 1,800 pounds, is equipped with efficient brakes, headlights, brake lights, turn signals, windshield, rearview mirrors, and three-point safety belts. These vehicles can be operated on streets with a posted limit of 35 MPH or under. The same rules apply to NEVs as regular motor vehicles.
When you drive a low speed vehicle on the street, you must have a valid driver’s license and you must carry proper insurance. The police could pull over a golf cart for any infraction, including texting while driving. They could issue a citation for any violation, such as using a phone while behind the wheel. If you are going to operate a golf cart on the street, you need to be aware of the laws that apply and make sure that you extend insurance coverage on your regular vehicle to include a LSV.
If you receive a citation for texting while driving, you have the opportunity to fight the ticket in court. This may be in your best interest, especially if you received a ticket for texting in a school or work zone, since these tickets have the highest consequences on your driving record. Tickets can add up, and it may be best to fight a ticket with help from an experienced legal team. You do not want to risk the suspension of your driver’s license. It is essential to take action quickly because you have a limited time to request a hearing. If you already lost your driving privileges, we may be able to help you get a limited license. Contact our legal team at Henderson Law Group to discuss your options today.