Pat Bhava
Words By:
Pat Bhava
CEO & Co-founder
Posted On:
October 9, 2019

As of October 1st, 2019, Texting While Driving Law in Florida is officially in place. What does this mean for Florida drivers? What does this mean for PikMyKid users?

You cannot text while driving. You cannot email while driving. This includes anything that involves “manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data on such a device for the purpose of nonvoice interpersonal communication,” to quote the Florida law. Texting While Driving Law- Florida is an initiative for Florida drivers to stay safe. It ensures drivers stay off of their mobile devices while driving.

Background on Distracted Driving or Texting While Driving

The use of mobile phones and other electronic devices while driving is increasing. This has emerged as one of the leading causes of distracted driving-related crashes. In a recently concluded study over a 5 year period ending in 2017 there were a lot of takeaways. Data from the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), shows there were about 3,030 distracted driving crashes a year. This accounts for about 9 percent of all fatal crashes. These crashes killed about 3,285 people each year over the same five years. Economic losses from distracted driving could total $46 billion a year. NHTSA released a study in May 2014 which focused on behavioral factors that contributed to 32,999 highway fatalities and 3.9 million injuries in the U.S. in 2010. 

Twenty states have laws on the books banning the use of hand-held cellphones while driving. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (Minnesota’s law becomes effective on August 1, 2019; Arizona will issue warnings until 2021 when it will issue tickets). Almost all of the laws have “primary enforcement” provisions. This means a motorist may be ticketed for using a hand-held cellphone while driving without any other traffic offense taking place. Almost every state has banned the practice of texting with a cellphone while driving. Most of these laws have primary enforcement provisions.

Fatal Crashes Affected By Distracted Drivers, 2017

View Archived Tables

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

New App-based Mobility Tools & Their Place in This Fast-Changing Legal Landscape

These new laws include not just texting, but also email, instant message, anything covered by the definition. We are happy to see that cities are taking notice of traffic safety issues caused by the rampant use of cellphones while driving. The following points will go over Texting While Driving Law- Florida and the exceptions to the law that have been put into place.

Additionally, we will explore how several applications that we use day to day on our cell phones to carry out some basic functions could be affected. We will also discuss how PikMyKid specifically addressed these challenges long before this new Texting While Driving Law – Florida came into existence. It did so by focussing on the safety aspects of usability while driving which have been specifically exempted by this law in Florida and also by 20 other states who have enforced such laws in the last few years. Due to the overwhelming number of questions we get from concerned stakeholders, we decided to discuss our process and procedures we have put in place while designing PikMyKid in order to ensure the safety of our users.

Texting while driving, hands-free Florida, text and drive, PikMyKid announce

Why PikMyKid App Is Safe-To-Use Under Prevailing Texting While Driving laws

As a student safety company, PikMyKid has been at the forefront of this change. It ensures the responsible use of technology while driving for the last 4 years. PikMyKid has a standard operating procedure for its App usage in schools across Florida and 35 other states. These procedures make it compliant with Texting While Driving laws. Safety is of paramount importance to us and these are safety measures that we have in place already for parents:

Providing Flexibility to Prevent Texting While Driving

PikMyKid Announce Screen, Hands-Free Florida, text and drive, School safety
  • Our app ensures parents can use the App at any time of the day to notify their school of any schedule changes. This includes late nights or early mornings or any other convenient time for parents. They do not have to wait for the school hours to call the front desk or while driving to pick up / drop off their kids.

Using Google Map with Single- Click Action

  • Parents can estimate their ETA and their optimal route for the day to their schools using a google map link in the App. (pictured on the “Announce” home page) They are able to navigate to school with a single click and without keying in their school address.  “The law includes exceptions for vehicle navigation, as well as data that is read by the vehicle, radio broadcasts and safety-related information such as weather and emergency alerts.” PikMyKid built this design into the application to reduce distractions while driving. It provides the safest way to navigate through real-time traffic to provide them the best available routes to school. The Texting While Driving Law- Florida has specific exceptions for this single click rule.

“Announce” at Provided PikMyKid Stop Sign

  • Parents picking up students from the carline have to come to a complete stop at the PikMyKid Stop sign provide to every school. Or otherwise known as; Staff Checkpoint (pictured below). Once stopped, they perform a single click “Announce” to confirm the arrival and/or visual verification with the staff members.
PikMyKid announce stop sign, hands-free Florida, app, text and drive

The law includes the exception of conducting wireless interpersonal communication that does not require “manual entry of multiple letters, numbers, or symbols, except to activate, deactivate, or initiate a feature or function. Conducting wireless interpersonal communication that does not require reading text messages, except to activate, deactivate, or initiate a feature or function.

Conclusion – What makes Mobility Applications Compliant With Texting While Driving Laws?

Universal Exceptions to the ‘Texting While Driving Law”

The law does not apply to a motor vehicle operator who is:

1. Using a device or system for navigation purposes.

2. Conducting wireless interpersonal communication that does not require manual entry of multiple letters, numbers, or symbols, except to activate, deactivate, or initiate a feature or function.

3. Conducting wireless interpersonal communication that does not require reading text messages, except to activate, deactivate, or initiate a feature or function.

Since PikMyKid’s inception, it has been crucial for us to stay ahead of the curve with safety innovations. PikMyKid intends to promote the absolute safest possible way for our users to access our app to bring more value and meaning in their lives. For those who may wonder if the PikMyKid app is completely compliant with these new laws? The answer is an emphatic ‘Yes’. As a Florida based team, we see the importance of these new laws. PikMyKid supports the enforcement of Texting While Driving Law- Florida to make our roads safer for our community. More so around our schools. We would like to thank our school staff and parents, for being instrumental in formulating these best practices into our application over the years.  

Our team is always working towards helping schools improve their safety processes every day. Please feel free to send us your thoughts and recommendations to support@pikmykid.com.

Link to the 2019 Florida Statutes for Texting while Driving

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Pat Bhava
Pat Bhava  -  CEO & Co-founder

Pat had been jolted into PikMyKid due to his personal experiences in school carlines. An ex-Naval fighter pilot and deep-sea diver with an MBA and BS in Physics, Pat is experienced in building teams and solving problems. He is a serial entrepreneur, having built and sold a few startups. His previous projects include Sachi Ventures, Inc., Tun-Du-Ree, LLC, and Spiceline Logistics.