According to a study released by the American Automobile Association (AAA), over two million motorists on Florida roadways are driving illegally. Driving with revoked or suspended licenses, these drivers are proving a menace to other drivers, with an estimated one in five being involved in fatal crashes.
While the reason for the high number of unlicensed drivers taking to the roadways varies, close to 1 in 10 drivers nationally are unlicensed, according to the report.
Maj. Michael Perotti of the Hillsborough County Jail, who sees suspended drivers get booked at all hours, believes that financial hardship leads to many suspensions. Perotti told a local newspaper, The Ledger, “I think it’s very obvious that debt issues and inability to pay can snowball on a person” resulting in license suspensions. In Florida, delinquency of child support payments and the failure to pay fines or tickets can result in the loss of a license.
However, according to Dr. Lindsay Griffin of the Texas Transportation Institute, the lead researcher in the study, the reason for an invalid driver’s license for many is far worse than financial issues. She said of drivers with an invalid license at the time of a fatal accident, 28 percent of them had received at least three license suspensions or revocations in the three years prior to the crashes. Furthermore, Griffin also stated that the drivers with invalid licenses were much more likely to have been driving drunk compared to other drivers.
In a tragic 2003 accident that is still fresh in the minds of the victim’s family, a man lost his life at the hands of an unlicensed driver in Pompano Beach, just 40 miles from Palm Beach and the Treasure Coast. The driver was initially involved in a hit-and-run accident, continued driving until he ran a red light, then struck a pickup truck that overturned, killing the victim and injuring the man’s son. The driver was charged with one count of vehicular homicide and several other charges for a series of traffic infractions.
“Unlicensed drivers need to be prevented from driving,” says David Willis, President of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Many states are conducting stings to get these dangerous drivers off the roads and impounding the vehicles of frequent violators.
Without a car, the offenders should find it difficult to continue to drive.
While our Florida car accident attorneys understand that some Florida drivers operating a vehicle with an invalid license may be doing so without knowledge of outstanding fees, we agree that something needs to be done to get the dangerous, unlicensed drivers off the road. Florida traffic laws are complex and a knowledgeable accident and traffic attorney is critical if you have been involved in a serious accident with an unlicensed driver.
Contact an Experienced Florida Car Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Florida car accident due to the negligence or carelessness of an unlicensed driver, seek experienced counsel immediately. I am attorney Philip DeBerard. I have three decades of legal experience representing people injured in car accidents and other personal injury claims.
The law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, represents victims of car accidents and automobile crashes in Jupiter, Port St. Lucie, Stuart, Okeechobee, Fort Pierce, Vero Beach and Palm Beach. If character traits such as integrity, dedication and compassion are what you seek in an accident lawyer, call Philip DeBerard. Choosing the right accident lawyer does make a difference.
Call 1-800-299-8878 to speak with a knowledgeable Florida car accident attorney or fill out ouronline contact form.