Who’s at Fault in Improper Passing Accidents in Florida?
Passing another vehicle is a common maneuver on U.S. roads. Under Florida law, motorists can lawfully pass other vehicles when they exercise due care to avoid causing improper passing accidents.
The dangers of improper passing were evident in a recent fatal auto accident in Pasco County. As reported by The Ledger, a motorcyclist was killed in a near head-on collision on State Road 52.
A pickup truck operated by a 20-year-old man of Lakeland was traveling in the westbound lanes when he attempted to pass another car, crossed the median strip, and collided with a motorcycle in the eastbound lanes. The pickup and the motorcycle collided nearly head-on. The motorcyclist died at the scene.
What is Improper Passing in Florida?
Improper passing can result in devastating car crashes, which is why the Florida Statute Section 316.083 imposes strict requirements on how to perform these maneuvers safely without causing harm to anyone.
Under the statute, it is unlawful to pass another vehicle under the following circumstances:
- There is not enough space to perform the maneuver safely;
- Not using turn signals to inform others of your intention to pass another vehicle;
- Passing a vehicle on the right (in Florida, it is only legal to pass another vehicle on the right when the vehicle overtaken is making a left turn);
- Blind passing, or passing in the oncoming traffic lane when you cannot see oncoming traffic at a safe distance (this usually occurs on hills or curves);
- When passing a bicycle, failing to maintain at least three feet between your motor vehicle and the bicycle; and
- Cutting other cars off after performing the maneuver.
The above-mentioned maneuvers are considered improper passing in Florida. A motorist who attempts to pass another vehicle in any of the above-mentioned ways is violating Florida’s traffic law and can receive a traffic citation, not to mention that such behaviors can result in an improper passing accident.
Establishing Fault in an Improper Passing Accident in Florida
While a traffic citation for improper passing does not automatically establish fault, it can serve as an important piece of evidence to prove that the other motorist was negligent. For this reason, it is best to contact the police and wait for their arrival to:
- ensure that the driver receives a traffic citation for improper passing; and
- obtain a police report.
However, you may still need to prove that the other driver was negligent in order to recover damages following your improper passing accident in Florida. To establish fault and prove negligence in a personal injury lawsuit, you must prove that:
- The driver who attempted to pass your vehicle owed you a duty of care;
- The other driver breached their duty to exercise due care when they attempted to perform the maneuver;
- The breach of care was the proximate cause of your injury; and
- You suffered damages as a result of the breach.
Typically, when a car driver passes another vehicle improperly and ends up causing a car crash, they are likely to be deemed at fault for the collision. However, you may still need help from a Lakeland auto accident attorney to help you establish fault and prove negligence. Contact The Turnbull Firm to receive a consultation. Call at 863-324-3500 today.