Today, I ate lunch with a friend and was introduced to her 15 year old son. He told me that he was studying so he could take his restricted drivers license test. I told him a few funny DMV stories and how, until I turned 18, that I drove around in my mother’s minivan (so cool, I know). I was immediately transported back to that age – remembering my father teaching me how to drive and how excited I was when I finally received my drivers license, etc…
While I represent those who are injured in an accident (and also mostly not at fault). I get a lot of questions from people who cause accidents (free consultations keeps my phone ringing). While we don’t accept these people as clients, I am always happy to refer these cases to great attorneys who can help. After talking to my friend’s son, it occured to me that most 15 and 16 year olds will know the answer to many of the questions I am asked…because that information is all in the Florida Drivers Handbook that we all studied so we could pass the written portion of our driving exam. If you want a refresher, the book is online here: (Florida Drivers Handbook). I also thought that I would summarize some of the answers found in the Florida Driver Handbook based on some of the most frequently asked questions that come my way.
How to Have Your License Suspended
Other than being a bad driver (accumulating a certain number of points), you can also have your license suspended by failing to do any of the following: carry automobile insurance; stop for a school bus; get caught stealing; pay child support; failing to pay your traffic citation; and refusing to take a breathylizer or other alcohol test.
Florida Implied Consent
Florida has whats known as an Implied Consent Law which means that if you drive, you are, by implication, agreeing to take a blood-alcohol test if asked by a police officer. If you refuse, your license can be suspended for one year. In fact, police officers have to ask you twice. If you refuse the first time, they will read the following:
If you fail to submit to the test I have requested of you, your privilege to operate a motor vehicle will be suspended for a period of 1 year for a first refusal, or 18 months if your privilege has been previously suspended as a result of a refusal to submit to a lawful test of your breath, urine, or blood. Additionally, if you refuse to submit to the test I have requested of you and if your driving privilege has been previously suspended for a prior refusal to submit to a lawful test of your breath, urine, or blood, you will be committing a misdemeanor. Refusal to submit to the test I have requested is admissible into evidence in any criminal proceeding.Do you still refuse to submit to this test, knowing that your driving privilege will be suspended for a period of at least 1 year and that you may be charged criminally for any subsequent refusals?
The No-Fault Law
Florida law requires a minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage; and $10,000 in Property Damage Liability coverage. You cannot buy a license plate and registration without this coverage. If you cancel (or fail to renew) with your car-insurance company, they are obligated to notify the State of Florida Division of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles – which may lead to the suspension of your driver’s license.
Bicycles – They’re Cars Too!
Florida law treats bicycles as if they were vehicles – with all of the same privileges, rights and responsibilities to utilize the roadway. Bicyclists are entitled to share the road with other drivers – with the flow of traffic. As frustrating as it might be, bicycles can use the full lane, even thought they cannot go nearly as fast as a car. Unlike motorists, bicyclists can also operate on sidewalks, unless otherwise prohibited. Riding against the flow of traffic in the adjacent traffic lane on a sidewalk is not illegal. Florida law requires that automobiles give bicyclists at least three feet of clearance and reduce their speed. Since bicycles can slow down rapidly, motorists may not follow too closely.