What Is Florida’s Careless Driving Statute?

Vehicle accidents happen for a multitude of reasons. Sometimes the driver is distracted, while other times they may reckless. In other instances, a person may be operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs – the list can go on.


However, sometimes accidents happen simply because a person is careless. Even though the accident may not have been caused intentionally, it still doesn’t change the fact that careless driving is dangerous. If you’ve been injured in an accident due to a careless driver, then you may be able to get compensation. In fact, Florida has a careless driving statute to help victims.


Here’s what you need to know about careless driving in Florida, including what you can do if you are injured in an accident due to a careless driver’s actions.


Florida’s Careless Driving Statue


Florida has a statute in the law that specifically addresses careless driving. It basically states that anyone who operates a vehicle on public roads must drive in a careful and sensible way with regard to the conditions of the roads and traffic, so they don’t endanger the life, property, or limb of anyone else. If that is violated, then it is considered careless driving.


Aggressive and Reckless Careless Driving


The Florida statute addresses aggressive as well as reckless careless driving.


Aggressive Careless Driving


This type of driving is defined under the law as someone driving carelessly while also displaying at least two of these other actions:


  • Driving over the speed limit
  • Violating traffic signals or controls
  • Improperly or unsafely changing lanes
  • Improperly passing another driver
  • Failing to yield to drivers who have right of way
  • Following behind another vehicle too closely

So, if someone is found to be speeding, and they run a stop sign when it is determined they were driving carelessly, then they could be deemed an aggressive and careless driver.


Reckless Driving


Reckless driving is considered driving with a vicious or deliberate disregard for the safety of people and property. Basically, it means that the person driving a vehicle was acting in a way that seemed intentionally and purposefully indifferent to the consequences of their actions.


This can include acts behind the wheel such as:


  • Fleeing from police
  • Drag racing
  • Weaving between cars
  • Any other dangerous driving pattern

What If You’re in an Accident with a Careless Driver?


When you’re involved in a car accident, and you suspect it is due to the carelessness of the other driver, then there are certain things you should do.

Remember, if you want to try to prove another person’s negligence in an accident, you need information and proof that they acted in a negligent way.


Of course, if you’re injured, you should first get medical treatment. However, if you’re well enough, you should make sure to:


  • Document where the accident took place, plus the date and time
  • Get the insurance information for all drivers involved
  • Write down the model, make, and license plate number of the car involved in the accident
  • Take pictures with your phone of the accident scene and damage to vehicles

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Law enforcement will also likely be on the scene, so make sure to get a report from the officer. Your car insurance will probably want a copy anyway, and it’ll make it easier down the road if you want to pursue litigation.


Once you have everything you need from the scene of the accident, you should make sure to keep records regarding any expenses you incurred related to the accident. That can include medical costs, transportation, lost wages, and anything else in the wake of the accident that you need due to your injuries.



About the Author:

Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2021 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2021, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019-2021.