Is it against the law to watch TV while driving in Florida?

Trooper Steve answers viewer questions

ORLANDO, Fla. – News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions and shares tips about the rules of the road, helping Central Florida residents become better drivers by being better educated.

The most recent question received by Trooper Steve was, “Can I watch TV while driving?”

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“The fact that I need to answer this question lets me know there is so much work still to be done when it comes to promoting proactive driver safety,” Trooper Steve said.

Trooper Steve said watching a show on a device while driving is, in a word, dangerous.

“Why in the world would you want to watch television while operating a motor vehicle?” he said. “You are literally driving thousands of pounds down the road and yet you would want to watch TV?”

Florida traffic law specifically has a statute that goes into detail talking about a television-style device in view of a driver.

“This tells me this has been a problem for a long time,” Trooper Steve added.

The first part of Florida law 316.303 states a motor vehicle may not be operated on highways if the vehicle is actively displaying moving television broadcast or pre-recorded video entertainment content that is visible from the driver seat while the vehicle is in motion.


That means a passenger should not even have some type of display in their lap if the driver can see it, Trooper Steve said.

“I cannot tell you how many times I have been driving down the road and witnessed a driver watching anything from a social media video or streaming something on YouTube,” he said. “Although this could be a great way to distract yourself from your boring drive, I guarantee you that you will think differently when that crash occurs.”

But what about a large GPS screen?

“This would be allowed as a vehicle function that would not be categorized as a television-type device,” Trooper Steve said. “But if you decide to convert that into some type of streaming display outside of the GPS, then there would be a problem.”

Florida law 316.303 does go into further detail about automated driving systems and newer technology, including a subsection that would not restrict first responder vehicles from this type of law.

About the Authors:

Steven Montiero, better known as “Trooper Steve," joined the News 6 morning team as its Traffic Safety Expert in October 2017. A Central Florida native and decorated combat veteran, Montiero comes to the station following an eight-year assignment with the Florida Highway Patrol.

Daniel started with WKMG-TV in 2000 and became the digital content manager in 2009. When he's not working on, Daniel likes to head to the beach or find a sporting event nearby.