Florida’s Many Vehicle Laws

Mon, May 12, 2014

Personal Injury

Some rights reserved by ell brownYou might think you know everything about Florida’s auto laws because you drive a car and took the test, etc. Some of them are obvious, of course, too. However, there are tons of Florida laws that you aren’t even aware of and that aren’t very intuitive. And all motor vehicle laws vary by state.

We all know that Florida requires some types of insurance on vehicles. One of the most famous laws Florida has is the Personal Injury Protection Law, PIP. This is the mandatory requirement that all drivers carry at least $10,000 in personal injury insurance. This is a no-fault coverage. Meaning you will have it for yourself whether or not you are at fault or if there was even another driver involved. Rather recently, Florida revamped this law to make it more stringent. For instance, you now must be declared injured within 14 days to get the full benefit. Otherwise, if you delay, you will only be eligible for $2500 of coverage. This is due to the rampant fraud that exists in Florida over PIP insurance. We wrote an entire blog post about this about a year ago.

PIP is not the only insurance requirement that Florida has. For instance, Florida requires that you have minimum Property Damage or Bodily Injury insurance (or a certain amount of money in the bank to cover this type of damage or injury.) This is called Florida’s Financial Responsibility Law. (More can be found in Florida State Statute Chapter 324.) There it discusses how you must carry certain amounts of insurance; be self-insured by having at least $40,000 or more (depending on the number of vehicles you own) of unencumbered wealth; or prove yearly that you have a certificate of deposit worth $30,000 or more. There are many parts to the financial responsibility law, make sure you read the full statute for details and the most reliable details.  In addition, you can read further about the insurance requirements that Florida requires for many types of situations, including leasing a vehicle.

In addition to insurance laws, Florida has many types of traffic control requirements. For instance, we all know you shouldn’t tailgate—but did you know that this is illegal and you can be cited for following too closely? In fact, “motor trucks” have very specific distances they must keep from other motor trucks. In addition, did you know that Florida State Statute 316.154 says, No person shall start a vehicle which is stopped, standing, or parked, unless and until such movement can be made with reasonable safety.” And don’t race anyone, because it is illegal to ”Drive any motor vehicle, including any motorcycle, in any race, speed competition or contest, drag race or acceleration contest, test of physical endurance, or exhibition of speed or acceleration or for the purpose of making a speed record on any highway, roadway, or parking lot.” Moreover, whoever parks any vehicle within 30 feet of any rural mailbox upon any state highway in this state between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. shall be cited for a nonmoving violation.”

In addition to insurance and traffic laws, Florida has laws against drunk driving. We wrote about this a while back, in this blog post. These laws include that you must submit to a Breathalyzer or you can have your license suspended.

Lastly, Florida is a comparative negligence state. This means that both people can share the fault of the accident using a percentage. This percentage can follow you—meaning your insurance can be liable for a portion of the damages, you can also be financially responsible for a portion of the damage, and luckily, you could be eligible for a portion of personal injury damages. It’s all about the percentage of negligence that you are found to be responsible for.

Attorney Christopher D. Smith is a Lakewood Ranch, Florida attorney with SmithLaw Attorneys. He concentrates in bankruptcy, civil litigation, probate, estate planning, and elder exploitation cases in the Sarasota and Bradenton area. Call 941-907-4774 to learn more and to ask about our free consultations.

Image: Some rights reserved by ell brown

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