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Better than a Radar Detector…

For those of you who travel on the roadways in the State of Florida, especially the interstate, you must be aware that the Florida Highway Patrol still uses fixed wing aircraft for aerial speed enforcement. Everyday across the State of Florida, pilots, some with over 20 years of experience, fly their airplane in an oval race track format while clocking cars from the air. Troopers on the ground are then contacted by the aircraft pilot and will pull you over and issue you a uniform traffic citation for unlawful speed.

The Florida Highway Patrol Aerial Unit

The Florida Highway Patrol Aerial Unit

How do they do this? There are white lines in the roadway that are one quarter mile (1320ft) in distance from each other. The pilot in the air has a stopwatch, when you cross the first set of white lines the pilot will start the stopwatch and will then stop it when you cross the second set of white lines. The pilot’s stopwatch has a built in formula which determines your speed and the time it takes you to cross the white lines. The troopers on the ground will then issue you a uniform traffic citation for unlawful speed.

A screen shot of the FHP Aerial Unit locations on I-75

A screen shot of the FHP Aerial Unit locations on I-75

If you aren’t familiar with the app Waze, owned by Google, you should check it out when you travel along the interstate. As you see, other Waze users will usually notify you way in advance that the highway patrol has a saturation / aircraft detail going on, giving you more than enough time to get your speed down to the appropriate limit.

If you should receive a citation from the Florida Highway Patrol give us a call to go over the particular facts of your case at 1-800-Fight-It. In the meantime download the Waze app now!lawplacelogo-red-sm

Good Ruling for Commercial Drivers in Florida

In Florida if you possess a regular drivers license, and you receive a moving violation, you have three options for non-mandatory traffic infractions:

  1. Elect a driver improvement school
  2. Pay the citation
  3. Elect to fight the citation in Court.

However, the options available to a commercial driver are limited as they can pay the citation or fight the ticket in Court.

Until a memo from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor VehiclesDHSMV) began circulating on January , 2014, it was commonplace for a Judge to withhold adjudication on a commercial driver if the facts and driving record warranted such a result. A withhold of adjudication would mean that a driver wouldnt receive point on their license BUT the violation would still appear on their record as has been commonplace for years.

Since the memo began circulating over a year ago, each county has been inconsistent with their interpretation of the memo and the sentences they were imposing on a commercial driver appearing before them. In an order from Sarasota County (State v John Brandy, 2014 TR 15144 NC) Judge Phyllis Galen on March , 2015, the Judge ruled that the Court has the authority to withhold adjudication on a commercial driver appearing before them on a moving violation. The Judge discussed the separation of powers between the branches of Government and opined that under Florida Law, a withhold of adjudication is NOT masking since the violation still appears on a driving record.

Finebloom, Haenel, and Higgins have been representing motorists across the State of Florida for over 10 years. David Haenel, one of the partners is the former Florida Bar Traffic Court Rules Committee chairman. They can be reached at 1-800-FIGHT-IT (344-4848)

New Changes to the Florida Move Over Law Go Into Effect

On July 1, 2014, changes to the Florida ‘Move Over Law’ went into effect to include more at-risk Failure to Move over Ticket in Floridaworkers in need of protection on Florida roads.  The Move Over Law made it mandatory for drivers to either move over a lane or drastically slow down when some types of emergency or utility vehicles were on the side of the road.  Until July 1, the law mainly covered law enforcement and first responders; it has now been changed to include other vehicles as well, including utility vehicles, sanitation vehicles and tow trucks.

Under the Move Over Law, if a driver is driving on a multi-lane highway and there is one of these vehicles on the side of the road, he or she must move over a lane if it is safe to do so and slow down by 20 MPH.  On narrower, two-lane streets, drivers must slow down by at least 20 miles per hour when they pass one of these vehicles.  If the speed limit is already under 20 miles per hour, a driver must slow down to 5 MPH.

The fine for violating the Move Over Law in Florida is $120, but this can vary depending on which county the violation occurs in.  There is also a three-point penalty on the violator’s driver’s license.

Nearly every state in the country has some sort of Move Over Law on the books.  They were enacted in response to the high numbers of police officers who are killed every year when they are struck by vehicles on American highways.  By one estimate, almost 165 officers died across the nation over a 10-year period.  This does not include other workers who are often struck on the side of the road that this new law is meant to protect, such as tow truck drivers, sanitation and utility workers.