Here's the short version:
Driving and talking on a cell phone is perfectly legal in Florida in most situations. Starting on October 1, 2019 Florida Law requires that if you are in a School Zone or Active Construction Zone you use your wireless communication device (typically a cell phone) in a handsfree mode.
Should you talk on your cell phone while driving - NO? We've all seen drivers with cell phones glued to their ears changing lanes too close to you, rolling through stop signs, or just not driving well at all. One of the biggest causes of accidents in Florida is distracted drivers.
By now everyone should know that texting while driving is extremely dangerous. Texting while driving is illegal in Florida and can result in points on your license. But what about talking on a cell phone while driving?
Talking on a cell phone is not illegal in Florida but it does distract you from driving and is a cause of thousands of car accidents a year in Florida. In 2017 there were over 3,700 accidents attributed to drivers distracted by cell phone conversations.
The National Institute of Health did a study with drivers age 21 to 26 using an advanced driving simulator. The study focused on a distraction that originates in your peripheral vision — a pedestrian entering the crosswalk — while you are having a phone conversation.
Drivers reaction times were 40% longer when they were talking on a cell phone.
This is why the Florida Highway Patrol has issued their Cell Phone Tips for drivers. If you want to avoid a traffic ticket and keep your drivers license in good status, you need to read on to avoid bad driving habits. You can easily get a ticket in Florida if you become a distracted driver and break road rules, or worse, cause an accident.
Make safe driving your first priority. If talking on your cell phone is going to distract you, don't use it while driving. If you are behind the wheel and you get a call, just let it ring! If the caller wants to talk to you, he will leave a message. If you suddenly need to make a call, pull over and stop your car as soon as you can.
If you are expecting calls or know that you will be placing calls while you are behind the wheel, make preparations. Don't take notes or look up numbers while driving. Again, keep your eyes on the road. Use speed dial or keep all numbers handy.
A cell phone is useful in emergencies and is definitely convenient. However, it can be abused. 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. You should not engage in stressful or emotional conversations that may distract you from your primary task — driving your car!
Know when it is safe to talk on your cell phone. You should not talk on the cell phone during hazardous driving conditions. If road conditions are not safe, traffic is heavy, or weather is severe, don't use your cell phone — it is simply not worth risking a crash…or your life!
This information has been provided by the Florida Highway Patrol. 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 drivers license in good status and keep your cell phone use for emergencies only when driving a car!