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Car Crashes

Fines for distracted driving do not reflect the danger

“Don’t do the crime, if you can’t do the time.” That’s a line from an old TV show from the 70s that anyone who is texting and driving these days probably never viewed. There’s a law against texting and driving, and many will tell you it lacks “teeth” because it is a secondary offense in Florida. That means drivers need to be caught doing something else wrong before they can be ticketed for multi-tasking with their cell phones behind the wheel. The fine for this dangerous behavior is just $30. Does that fit the “crime”?

Some perspective on traffic fines: If you drive with an expired drivers’ license, the fine is $250. I felt very sorry for the student on campus last week, as he was getting a ticket for weaving his scooter around a restricted parking gate. Fine: $170. If you fish without a license, the fine is $100. (With or without a fishing license, the fish do die.)

Seeing red where others don’t? STOP running red lights!


The traffic signal turned yellow, I slowed to a stop. The light then turned red, and a few seconds later, two cars (not just one) in the lane to the left of me sped through. This is not only wrong, it is stupid. Yet, it happens all the time.

City planners wisely have had to bend to this risky behavior by delaying the green/go signals a few seconds to accommodate red-light runners. In many cities, drivers know that being too quick to move on a GREEN light is almost as dangerous as speeding through a red one.

No one should ever be in such a hurry.  There are many factors the determine your auto insurance rates. Safe drivers pay less. They are the ones who obey traffic signals.

These are called “accidents,” but they don’t have to happen. Drivers know the rules and ignore them. The result? Florida has been experiencing a higher number of crashes and fatalities. 

Make it stop.


Cheaper gas fuels more driving, more car crashes, higher auto insurance cost


Drivers everywhere continue to enjoy the benefits of low gas prices, and what are they doing to celebrate? They are driving more. It’s less costly to take a road trip now, rather than fly to another destination, so more drivers are taking to the streets. More cars on the road increase the number of traffic crashes which, in turn, translates into higher auto insurance rates.

Hit-and-run crashes still problematic


Hit-and-run crashes in Florida are holding steady; it is the same challenging problem it always has been. The Florida Highway Patrol reports more than 92,000 hit-and-run crashes in 2015. Those crashes brought 19,000 injuries and 186 fatalities. More than half of those fatalities were pedestrians.

Why do people run away from a crash scene? More often than not, they have had too much to drink and should not have been behind the wheel. Or, they may have a suspended license or let their auto insurance lapse, which is illegal, by the way.

Florida law requires drivers to stop immediately for any car crash in which there is injury to another person. Violating this law is a third degree felony punishable with up to a five-year prison stint (and a mandatory minimum of four years).

Owning up to your mistakes has always been the honorable thing to do. That doesn’t mean it’s always the easy thing to do. But it is – and always will be – the right thing to do.

Don’t test your insurance on a test drive


Be extra careful whenever you test drive a new or used car. If you’re not working with a reputable car dealer, driving that car could be costly if you have a car crash.

No room for rebels on the road


He was an icon back in the 1950s, a legend seen as either a very cool tough guy or a troubled teen, depending on your perspective. Yet, there is agreement that James Dean died too soon – in a car crash that reinforced both images. He was only 24 when he died in a high-speed crash in 1955, and the “Giant” lessons the “Rebel Without a Cause” left bear relearning today – 60 years later.

In Florida, driver fatalities are highest in the 20-24 age group.