“We’re #1 – But hold off breaking out the champagne”
For those of us who spend a fair amount of time traveling Florida’s roadways, the results of a recent study published on Car Insurance Comparison probably come as no surprise: There are a number of bad drivers navigating Florida’s roadways, or at least folks who drive badly. The study documents an ugly and dangerous truth. Florida leads the nation in careless driving. Dead last. If we look at all of the data points tracked in the study, Florida ranks 6th from the bottom across the entire country. Not exactly the top 10 list for which we should be proud.
Tickets by law enforcement for careless driving are typically the result of an accident investigation following a motor vehicle collision. That means that more likely than not, someone’s ticketed careless driving has resulted in a collision of some sort. Even if someone was not injured in every one of those collisions, they all certainly had the potential for causing injury to the driver or some unsuspecting motorist just trying to get to where they were going.
All is not lost. The number of careless driving adjudications in Palm Beach County decreased from 506 in 2009 to 232 in 2012. We are doing better than the most of our brethren states when it comes to drunk driving.
There is, of course, room for improvement. One thing we as a motoring State can do a better job of is to stop texting while driving. While recent legislation passed this year attempts to address the clear danger presented by drivers distracted by texting, Florida Statute 316.305, or “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law”. It doesn’t go nearly far enough. It doesn’t give law enforcement the ability to pull a driver over and issue them a citation in the absence of some other infraction even if they witness the driver texting. A citation for a violating Florida’s so-called “texting ban” results in a nonmoving infraction punishable by a $30 fine. Not a very steep price to pay for putting someone’s life in danger.
It also is probably a good time to review the insurance coverage you have on vehicles you and your family regularly drive. One of the most important insurance coverage available to you to best protect you and your family from the perils associated with the dangerous driving of others is uninsured/underinsured motorist protection. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, or U.M. coverage, provides a source of payment for bodily injuries, including medical bills and lost wages, sustained by you, individuals in your car, and family members living with you in the event you are injured in a collision caused by a motorist who does not have adequate or any insurance coverage at all.
If you have never heard of U.M. coverage, you are not alone. Although insurance companies are required by law to offer you U.M. coverage up to the amounts of your bodily injury coverage limits, it is not something they particularly like selling you given the risk they must take on, particularly in areas like South Florida where there are so many uninsured/underinsured drivers. By purchasing U.M. coverage, you are not relying on the same driver whose careless driving caused the collision that resulted in you or your family’s injures to have been responsible enough to purchase sufficient bodily injury coverage to protect you from his careless driving before he injured you.
Talk to your insurance agent about purchasing U.M. coverage in an amount that fits you and your family’s needs.
Perhaps our collective New Year’s resolution should be for all of us to do what we can to ensure that Florida does not come in first again next year in careless driving.
Be safe and Happy Holidays to you and yours.