Back to School for Florida Drivers Who Cause Car Accidents
Beginning January 1, 2010, a new state law will require any driver who is the at-fault party in three automobile crash-related moving violations within a three-year span to take a behind-the-wheel driver education course and pass a driving test. Currently, Florida law only requires a four-hour refresher course for drivers cited in two crashes, but the course can be taken online and doesn't include a behind-the-wheel training course.
It is important to note that past incidents will not be considered, as this new law will start counting violations as of January 1, 2010. Nevertheless, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has already identified about 3,200 people who can be classified as the most dangerous drivers. These motorists were involved in over 10,000 accidents over a three-year period ending Dec. 31, 2008. Despite their violations on roadways, these unsafe drivers rarely caused accident-related fatalities and only accounted for five deaths in that same three-year span. On average, about 3,000 people die each year on Florida highways.
Although this new law is certainly a step in the right direction, more needs to be done to protect Floridians from these unsafe drivers. As a motor vehicle accident attorney, I am frequently confronted with cases in which my clients sustained serious injuries at the hands of drivers who had been at-fault multiple times in previous accidents. While it is clear that the intention of this new law is to change a driver's behavior, only time will tell if it is enough to prevent some accidents. For some people, paying a fine for violating a traffic law is not enough to serve as a disincentive, but hopefully the act of having to take a driving test, like a teenager, will have some positive impact on that person's driving behavior. Only time will tell.