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Florida Driver Handbook: Traffic Crashes

Study for your upcoming driver's license test or learner's permit exam with the Florida Driver Handbook.

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Florida Driver Handbook: Traffic Crashes

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Table of Contents

4. Driving Privilege

4.10.1 - Your Responsibilities

  1. Call law enforcement
    If you are in a crash while driving, you must stop! Call the local police, the Florida Highway Patrol, or the county Sheriff's office. If the crash involves a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) or results in death, injury, or property damage to the extent a wrecker must tow a vehicle, the officer will fill out a report. If the crash is investigated by an officer, the driver need not make a written report. If property damage appears to be over $500 and no report is written by an officer, you must make a written report of the crash to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles within 10 days. The officer will provide you with a copy of the form for your records.
  2. Remain calm
  3. Attain vehicle, witness and driver information You must be ready to give your name, address, and vehicle registration number, as well as show your driver license to others involved in the crash.
  4. Sketch the scene, showing vehicle crash locations.
  5. Help the injured. If anyone is hurt, you must get help!

Blocking the Flow of Traffic

If you're involved in a minor crash and your vehicle is blocking the flow of traffic, you must move it. If you cannot move it yourself, you must get help or call a tow truck. This is true anytime your vehicle is blocking the flow of traffic whether it has been involved in a crash or not.

Traffic Collision Avoidance Course

If you are charged in a crash, you may have to go to court. The officer who comes to the scene of the crash will file charges against any driver who violated a traffic law. Anyone who is charged will have a chance to explain to the court what happened. The court will then decide what the penalty is. Anyone who is not charged with violating the law may have to come to court as a witness. If you are found at fault in a collision where anyone is injured and transported to a medical treatment facility or it is your second collision in a two-year period, you will be required by law to attend a Traffic Collision Avoidance Course. The traffic school that conducts this course can be found in the yellow pages of your local telephone book under driving instruction.

Crash Involving an Unattended Vehicle

If, while driving, you hit a vehicle with no one in it or if you damage any object that belongs to someone else, you must tell the owner. Give the owner your name, address, and tag number in person or in a note that is easily seen. Report the crash immediately to the proper law enforcement agency.

4.10.2 - Hit and Run

Florida has seen an increase of fatal hit-and-run crashes during the last two years.

What does Florida law say?

  • The driver must immediately stop and remain at the scene, must exchange information and render reasonable assistance to any injured persons.
  • Leaving the scene of a crash involving a death commits a felony of the first degree and carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in a state correctional facility and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Leaving the scene of a crash involving injuries commits a felony of the third degree and carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in a state correctional facility and/or a fine up to $5,000.
  • Leaving the scene involving property damage commits a misdemeanor of the second degree and carries a maximum penalty of 60 days in a county jail and/or fine of $500.

A few hit-and-run facts for Florida:

  • Hit-and-run crashes involving fatalities increased from 162 in 2011 to 168 in 2012.
  • The number of hit-and-run crashes statewide equaled 69,994 in 2012.
  • Three out of every five fatalities in 2012 were pedestrians struck in hit-and-run crashes.

4.10.3 - Three Crashes in Three Years Law:

Section 322.0261(1)(c) requires that if you were convicted of or pleaded nolo contender to your third traffic offense that caused a crash within 36 months, you must complete a department approved driver improvement course that includes behind-the-wheel training and an assessment of your driving safety. DHSMV notifies you of this requirement based on a qualifying third at fault crash occurring on or after January 1, 2010.

What you must do to avoid driver license cancellation:

  • Complete 12 hours of the 3-in-3 Crash Course or an approved Advanced Driver Improvement course (ADI).
  • Receive 4-hours of behind-thewheel training from a Florida licensed commercial driving school (CDS).
  • Pass the extended road test with a DL examiner or Tax Collector licensing agent.

Failure to complete these requirements within 90 days will result in a license cancellation.

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