Do You Know the Consequences of Texting and Driving?

by kelliedennie on April 19, 2013

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Do You Know the Consequences of Texting and Driving?

(U. S. Law and generally) Distracted driving has been a front burner issue for most legislatures across the United States during the past three years, largely based on the increasing accidents that involve texting. Even using a cell phone while driving is dangerous in many situations, but many phone users do not consider the impact of multi-tasking while driving. Driving skills and reaction time can be severely affected if the driver’s attention is divided. Many states have outlawed the practice of texting while behind the wheel of an automobile, but the situation is often viewed similar to using seat belts routinely, which is still an enforcement issue today.

Moving Violations

Texting while driving is essentially an automobile moving violation if caught doing so by the authorities. Fines are normally reasonable and payable prior to any court date, which usually excludes court costs. However, it is still noted on an individual’s driving record and can be problematic when reapplying for automobile insurance. The fine can be as high as $150 and usually costs two points on the individual’s driving record. So, the violation can leave a hole in your wallet and a bad mark on your driving record.


States that have legislation prohibiting texting while driving make negligence an automatic determination if the petitioning attorney can prove that the respondent committed the violation, as it is an illegal communication in that setting. Remember that negligence is the key component to any automobile accident and texting proof will always be included in the material facts of the case. Talking on a hands-free cell phone is not necessarily negligence because both hands are available for controlling the vehicle. The issue is actually the use of the hands as much as the mental distraction, such as driving a vehicle with multiple passengers. The legislation makes the practice a legal issue and protects the compliant driver. If the violation or accident occurs in South Florida, a West Palm Beach auto accident attorney, for example, could work in your defense and help reduce the charges.


Automobile accidents can cause all parties involved to suffer on some level. The practice of texting while behind the wheel has actually been directly correlated to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs with respect to the compromised control and reaction time while texting. When the apparent damage to all vehicles is compounded with any personal injuries, including wrongful death, the consequences of texting while driving can be overwhelming for everyone involved.

Several states are currently in the process of enacting criminal penalties for individuals who are involved in fatal accidents while using a cell phone in any manner; even dialing a cell phone while driving is technically texting. It is the same process with a different intention. The primary message being sent to drivers is that distracted driving occurs in many formats and all forms are particularly dangerous while operating a moving vehicle. Though the practice seems benign in low-pressure situations, the law addresses this dangerous activity in the most extreme situations and allows prosecutors ample latitude in egregious accident cases when texting or cell phone use is involved. The underlying message is that anything that needs to be said can be done while sitting still and very few messages are immediately imperative. The dominant mantra from state legislatures is rapidly becoming “it can wait.”            

A freelance writer and drive safety advocate, Kelly Dennie, writes on various topics. West Palm Beach auto accident attorneys at Steinger, Iscoe & Greene are experienced in defending injury victims in South Florida providing them with insight of their rights and into Florida law. Consistent with their commitment to assist their clients in restoring their livelihood, the lawyers work as quickly and as efficiently as possible.




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