One of the most popular questions we get is about the legality of using a cell phone in your car to talk or text. On the question of using a cell phone to talk, in the State of Florida there are no limits while driving whether you are using a headset that feeds only into one ear, communicate with a hands-free device, or hold your phone to your ear. However, the ban on texting is somewhat more comprehensive and strict. If you think you can get away with it, there is even a provision in the law that allows your billing records, text logs, and your phone to be used in court as admissible evidence against you.

Laws vary from state to state, and no state bans all cell phone use for drivers. 14 states and a handful of US territories ban all drivers from talking on handheld devices. This means they can talk using a headset or hands-free mod, but 46 states and four US territories ban text messaging for all drivers. Some people might try to get around this by using the microphone to text function, but it would be a very hard sell in court.

Cell phone use in automobile crashes is underreported, everyone can agree on that. Everyone can also agree that distracted driving is a tremendous factor in all types of crashes. The CDC reports that each day eight people lose their lives and over 1100 are injured in crashes that involve distracted driving. Distracted driving can be defined as anything that takes your attention away from the road and the flow of traffic. This means that even eating, fixing your makeup, dancing in your seat to a song on the radio, and even turning around to look at your kids in the backseat can take your attention away for the vital few seconds it takes for an accident to happen.

This means that even talking on a headset, or using a hands-free mod for your cell phone can amount to a distraction. Just because your hands are on the wheel does not mean that your attention is on the road. If you want to understand the consequences of such activities in a very vivid fashion, then please watch this commercial which aired some years ago, but is still very relevant. It is not for sensitive viewers, the depictions in this commercial are alarming and very realistic.

It’s hard to believe that just one fleeting second can make the difference between life and death. It’s hard to believe that such an everyday activity as speaking on your cell phone or texting a friend that you’re running late could end in such horrible tragedy. But you need to believe it, and you need to believe it could happen to you or someone you love very much. It’s not just teenagers who need a hard talk on cell phone use and driving, but plenty of allegedly more sensible adults as well. Consider this your talk.