Florida Traffic School Mandatory for Red-light Runners

Florida now requires mandatory traffic school for drivers who receive a traffic ticket for running a red light.

Beginning October 1, 2009, drivers who receive a traffic ticket for running a red traffic light in Florida are required to complete a Basic Driver Improvement course. Drivers will be informed of the requirement to complete the course via US Mail.

A Florida Basic Driver Improvement course is a four-hour course that helps drivers refresh their driving skills, learn about recent legislation that affects road users, and pick up new defensive driving techniques. The course is available online or in a classroom; drivers select an option based on their learning style and schedule. Drivers who take the driver safety course online will find it convenient, interesting, and easy to complete. Attending traffic school online allows drivers who have busy schedules to complete the course in sections, so it doesn’t interfere with work or time with family. An online driving course is particularly convenient because it can be taken anywhere the driver has access to the internet: Home, work, school, the public library, or even a coffee shop.

Although other dangerous driving behaviors such as speeding and distracted driving garner more media focus, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that red-light running is the leading cause of motor vehicle collisions in cities. In 2006, 171,000 motor vehicle collisions were caused by drivers who ran red traffic lights, according to IIHS: 83,000 of these collisions caused injury, with a total of 144,000 individuals injured, and 791 of these collisions caused death, with a total of 887 individuals killed.

Red-light runners are charged a fee for the Basic Driver Improvement course, but hopefully, the time and money spent and the knowledge drivers gain from the course will deter future red light running, which will save the public money; red-light running currently costs taxpayers at least $14 billion per year. In addition to the monetary cost, the cost of red-light running in human costs is high; fatalities from collisions due to red-light running are increasing at more than three times the rate of increase for all other deadly crashes, and more people are injured in motor vehicle crashes caused by drivers who run red lights than in any other type of crash. And it isn’t just red-light runners themselves who suffer; over half of the fatalities in collisions caused by drivers who run red lights are other motorists and pedestrians. And the fear engendered by red-light runners is pervasive; in a survey performed by Old Dominion University, 56 percent of Americans admit to running red lights; yet 96 percent of drivers were afraid of being hit by a red light runner.