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Florida Employers: Texting and Driving

by Amanda Pestana

Effective October 1, 2019, warnings will be issued to Florida drivers using wireless communication devices in a non-hands free manner. On January 1, 2020, tickets will be issued to the driver if using wireless communication in a non-hands free manner.

A fine of $60 and 3 points will be assessed against the driver's license.


Employers are obligated under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (PSHA) to create a safe and healthful workplace. Therefore, employers must consider adopting policies banning their employees from texting and driving while driving a company-owned car or are driving within the parking lot of the business. When conducting employee training, this topic should be considered and discussed with the team.


The law prohibits “manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data on a wireless communications device for the purpose of ‘nonvoice’ interpersonal communication . . . .”


Questions to Discuss

If I'm stopped at a traffic light, can I send a text?

  • Yes, if the motor vehicle is stationary, you can still send a text.

Can I use my phone for Waze or Google Maps?

  • Yes, the law excepts and permits drivers to use a driver or system for navigation purposes.

Can a police officer ask to see my cellphone if I am stopped?

  • You have the right to decline. The officer cannot search your wireless device without a warrant.


Exceptions

The law will apply except for the following motorists:

  • The operator of an autonomous vehicle.

  • Driver receiving messages related to navigation or operation of the vehicle, or vehicle safety (emergency traffic, weather alerts, acquiring data, listening to radio broadcasts).

  • A driver reporting criminal or suspicious activity to law enforcement;

  • The operator of an emergency vehicle performing official duties.

#laborlaw #employers #florida #business #employess #safety

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