Car accidents can be the result of many different factors. Often, however, they are the result of another driver’s traffic infraction. A citation or other evidence of a traffic infraction can be used in a civil case as evidence that the driver was negligent. While a citation alone does not automatically prove that a driver was negligent, it is often persuasive evidence which can cause an insurance company to accept liability or convince a jury that the driver was negligent. Learn more about common types of traffic infractions and how an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney can help victims access compensation for injuries they sustain as a result of a violation of Florida traffic law.
Chapter 316 of the Florida Statutes is known as the State Uniform Traffic Control. This Chapter provides for the use of photo enforcement cameras, obedience to traffic control devices, high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, duties to yield, no passing zones, following too closely, driving on divided highways, left turns, pedestrians, school buses, speed regulations, reckless and careless driving offenses, impaired driving regulations, and many other important traffic laws. The Chapter also provides regulations for the operation of motorcycles, mopeds, all-terrain vehicles, golf carts, motorized scooters, and swamp buggies on the public roadways of Florida. These laws form the majority of Florida’s traffic offenses. Drivers can also be cited for violations of county regulations, municipal ordinances, and other traffic regulations which are applicable in the jurisdiction where they are driving.
Photo enforcement of traffic laws has become a common - and controversial - practice across the United States. Many different legal challenges have been launched which question the constitutionality of this practice. The Miami Herald reports that the Florida Supreme Court has taken a case which challenges the manner in which the city of Aventura issues traffic citations from photo enforcement devices. Aventura, like many other cities, has contracted with American Traffic Solutions to maintain red light cameras within its jurisdiction. The company then reviews photos and either discards them as invalid (for example, if a camera misfired or a license plate is illegible) or sends them to law enforcement agents for review. A law enforcement agency must then issue citations. This is due to a 2010 state law which allows contractors (such as American Traffic Solutions) to review photo enforcement images but requires citations to be issued directly from a law enforcement entity.
Luis Torres Jiminez received a photo radar citation from the city of Aventura in 2011. It was initially thrown out by a judge but later reinstated on appeal. Now his case has made it to the state’s supreme court, where his attorney argues that the city illegally gave “unfettered discretion” to American Traffic Solutions to review images and print and send citations. The justices seemed skeptical of the argument that the city’s delegation of authority to not issue citations was a violation of the 2010 law. Nonetheless, these and other legal challenges are currently progressing through state courts across the country.
Golf Cart Accidents
Golf carts a popular mode of transportation in sunny Florida, but they too are subject to traffic regulations. The Villages News provides tips for golf cart safety and complying with traffic regulations. First, operators whose driver’s licenses have been canceled, suspended or revoked cannot legally drive a golf cart on public roadways. This is because the Florida statutes define golf carts as motor vehicles. Criminal penalties are provided for the operator of any motor vehicle (including a golf cart) who drives while his or her license is not valid. The statutes also prohibit the operation of a golf cart on a public roadway unless it has been specifically designated for that purpose by the local municipality. Even on designated roadways, a golf cart may not be operated by anyone under the age of fourteen.
Golf cart accidents can cause injuries. Without the safety equipment of a regulated passenger vehicle, these injuries can sometimes be even more severe than those sustained in an auto accident. Negligent golf cart drivers have a legal obligation to compensate victims who are injured as a result of their negligence. This can include passengers, pedestrians, bike riders, and other road users. On a golf course, this may include other golfers, caddies, groundskeepers, and other workers. Golf cart drivers have a legal obligation to drive with due care.
Florida’s Point System
Like many other states, Florida has enacted a system of points by which a driver can face suspension or revocation of driving privileges. The penalties faced depend upon the number of points which are accrued. The Florida Department of Motor Vehicles reports on the points assessed for common traffic violations, including leaving the scene of an accident (6 points), unlawful speed resulting in an accident (6 points), reckless driving (4 points), passing a stopped school bus (4 points), having an open container of alcohol (3 points), and a child restraint violation (3 points). According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, accrual of 12 points in a 12 month period results in a 30-day suspension of driving privileges. 18 points in 18 months will result in a three-month suspension, and 24 points within 36 months will result in a one-year suspension of driving privileges. Points are calculated based on the date the ticket was received.
Drivers can avoid accruing points for certain eligible offenses by attending traffic school. This prevents the administrative consequences of accruing points and also prevents an auto insurance carrier from canceling the driver’s policy or increasing the premiums for an existing policy.
Victims who are injured in auto accidents have the legal right to be compensated for their financial losses. For years, injury victims in the St. Petersburg area have trusted the Dolman Law Group to protect these legal rights. Call (727) 222-6922 to schedule your free consultation with a personal injury attorney today. Our skilled personal injury attorneys have the experience necessary to achieve results.
Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712