Everything You Need to Know About Florida’s Texting And Driving Laws

Under Florida’s new texting and driving law, texting while driving is a primary offense and carries a minimum $30 fine.
Written by R.E. Fulton
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
As of January 1, 2020, texting while driving is a primary offense in Florida, carrying a possible $30 fine for your first ticket and points on your license for subsequent violations. In addition to the texting and driving ban, Florida prohibits the use of handheld devices in school and construction zones.
According to the
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
, distracted driving caused 48,537 crashes in 2020, leading to 308 fatalities. Compare that to just 219 deaths caused by distracted driving in 2015, and it’s clear that
the problem of texting and driving
is getting worse.
To help combat the rise of distracted driving crashes, Florida has joined the ranks of US states with strict bans on texting while driving. Here to walk you through the new texting and driving law is the car insurance comparison app
. We’ll cover the ins and outs of the 2020 texting ban, look at a few key exceptions, and run down all the possible penalties for checking your messages behind the wheel. We'll even show you the easiest way to find
cheap car insurance in Florida
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What are the texting and driving laws in Florida?

Texting while driving is a primary offense in Florida. You can now be pulled over and ticketed in Florida just for texting (or checking emails, sending Snapchat messages, or posting on social media).
In addition, all handheld device use is banned in school and construction zones.
Texting and driving is a serious distraction because it combines all three types of distracted driving recognized by the state of Florida: visual, manual, and cognitive. 
  • Visual distractions take your eyes off the road
  • Manual distractions take your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive distractions take your mind off your driving
Until recently, texting while driving in Florida was only a secondary offense, meaning that law enforcement could only issue a citation if they pulled drivers over for some other more serious violation (such as speeding).

What are the penalties for texting and driving in Florida? 

The penalties for texting and driving in Florida are fines and
points on your license
. The first offense is considered a non-moving violation and only carries a $30 fine. However, if you’re pulled over for distracted driving again within 5 years, you’ll be cited for a moving violation. 
Here’s how it all breaks down:
Type of violation
Points on license
1st offense
$30 (plus court costs and fees)
Subsequent offenses (within 5 years)
$60 (plus court costs and fees)
3 points
If your first offense happens to be in a school zone, you’ll be charged with a moving violation, which carries the higher fee and license points. Depending on your financial situation, a $30 fine might not feel like much—but extra fees and court expenses can add up quickly. 
If you’re caught texting and driving repeatedly in a 5-year period, the consequences could be even more serious. 
Accumulating 12 points in a year will lead to a 30-day suspension of your license. If you’re fined for texting and driving as few as 8 times in 3 years, your license could be revoked for an entire year

Are there exceptions to Florida’s texting and driving law? 

Yes. Drivers in Florida are still permitted to use their cell phones while driving for a few specific purposes: 
  • Checking emergency and weather alerts or other information directly related to driving safety
  • Using GPS or other navigation systems
  • Reporting emergency information or criminal activity to the police
  • Sending messages via hands-free voice-to-text technology
  • Texting while operating an autonomous vehicle in autonomous mode
It’s also legal to check texts while your car is stopped (including at stop lights). However, checking your texts at a stop light isn’t recommended. Research by the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
indicates that as many as 36% of car crashes nationwide happen at intersections, so it’s better to keep your attention on the road even though your car isn’t moving. 

Are there special rules about texting and driving for young drivers? 

Unlike some states, Florida doesn’t have separate rules about texting and driving for younger drivers. No matter your age, the restrictions and the penalties are the same. 
Key Takeaway: Texting while driving in Florida is illegal, but you can still use your phone for a few essential functions, such as checking GPS or emergency alerts. 

Can texting and driving raise my insurance premium?

Not only can texting and driving cost you a lot in fines, you might see your insurance premium rise as the result of a
distracted driving ticket
Your first texting and driving offense in Florida is unlikely to raise your rate since it’s a non-moving violation that won’t add points to your license. Subsequent violations, however, can cause your insurance premium to skyrocket. 
Let’s take a look at the numbers. In Florida, the average annual rate for a driver with a clean record is $2,382. After a ticket for texting and driving, that average jumps to $3,029. That’s a $647 increase—or 27%!
To keep your rates low, put your phone away while you’re behind the wheel or opt for a hands-free option like voice-to-text messaging. Not only will this help you maintain a clean record (which can earn you
insurance discounts
!), it’ll also keep you, your passengers, and other drivers safer on the road. 

How to save money on car insurance in Florida

A ticket for texting and driving in Florida can be expensive, especially if you’re already paying a steep car insurance premium. Luckily, with a little help from a
licensed broker
and pocket-sized comparison shopping genius, you could lower your annual rate in two minutes or less! 
Here’s how: wait until you’re off the road to download the
app. Then, enter your information and sit back while Jerry finds you quotes from 50+ top insurance companies. You can review your quotes in the app at any time (except when you’re driving!) and choose the rate and coverage that work best for you. 
Once you’ve found the insurance you need, Jerry will handle all the paperwork and even cancel your old policy for you! Jerry users save an average of $887 a year on car insurance—more than the additional cost of a citation for texting and driving in Florida! 
“I had limited time to find a new insurance plan in Florida, so I tried
. My experience was personalized and professional, and they found me a plan that fits my portfolio. You should give them a try.” —Valencia T. 
Thousands of customers saved on average $887/year on their car insurance with Jerry
This app is great, but the customer service is even better! Not to mention convenient! My husband and I got the lowest rate (much lower than the rates I was finding online through my own searches), quickly, and pretty much all through text message! Thank you so much for a hassle free experience👍
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You can’t go to jail for texting and driving in Florida unless your distracted driving caused a more serious violation, such as vehicular manslaughter. However, repeated texting and driving offenses could lead to your license being suspended for up to a year.
Texting while driving is among the leading forms of distracted driving. According to the NHTSA, distracted driving causes about 3,000 deaths a year—and that number seems to be on the rise. For instance, 2019 saw a 9.9% increase in distracted driving fatalities compared to the previous year.
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