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Alcohol Driving Course

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2.3 Effects of Different Types of Drugs

Review

There are several types of drugs. Never drive a motor vehicle after taking a substance which alters the central nervous system. This includes over-the-counter, prescription, and of course, illegal drugs.

The following categories of drugs have known side effects that include impaired attention, reaction time, and vision: * Antihistamines * Pain Relievers * Tranquilizers * Hallucinogens * Stimulants * Narcotics
It is very dangerous to combine alcohol and other drugs. Synergism occurs when the effect of one drug is enhanced by the presence of another drug. A multiplying rather than additive effect may occur.

It takes more ounces of beer than whiskey to become impaired, but people tend to drink more beer (total ounces) than whiskey. Regarding the servings of assorted alcohol beverages, they all have differing amounts of alcohol. Beer actually has more alcohol than whiskey and coolers are even stronger. There are also an infinite number of ways to mix alcoholic beverages so a drink by drink comparison can only be made when size and alcohol content of the drinks involved are known.

Alcohol is a toxic substance. The use of alcohol has no benefit to the body or society. Abuse or excessive consumption of alcohol or other drugs affects the physiology of the body in many ways. If a body becomes accustomed to the presence of alcohol continuously, a physical dependence develops and changes in the way organs and body systems respond to a drug. Addiction is “a state of periodic or chronic impairment detrimental to the individual and society, which is characterized by an overwhelming desire to continue taking the drug and to obtain it by any means.”

Almost all drugs have some potentially dangerous side effects. Read the warning labels on prescriptions and closely follow the instructions about combining the drug with other drugs and warning not to operate heavy machinery (your vehicle).

If you buy an over-the-counter medication for a cold or other condition, take the correct dose and use care when driving or participating in activities where side effects may cause problems.
3.1 Stress, Emotions, and Fatigue

Stress, Emotions, and Fatigue

Introduction

When you think of impairment, the term is usually associated with the effects of drinking or consuming other drugs.

Stress, your emotions, and being tired also have similar effects on your ability to drive safely. Stress and aggression are often displayed by the way people drive.

Being tired also has very similar effects on the body as alcohol consumption.

This module will explore the ways to recognize and manage stress, emotional impairment, and fatigue-impaired driving.
3.1 Stress, Emotions, and Fatigue

Learning Objectives

This module addresses stress, emotions, and fatigue. The topics that will be covered include: * Stress * Why Driving Makes People Angry * Aggressive Driving * Managing Your Emotions * Fatigue |

3.1 Stress, Emotions, and Fatigue

Stress

While many people use alcohol to relieve stress, there are a number of positive ways to deal with stress. These include: * Relaxation techniques. * Exercise - Physical activity is one of the most effective stress remedies available. * Watch your diet - Alcohol, caffeine, sugar, fats, and tobacco all put a strain on your body's ability to cope with stress. A diet with a balance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and foods high in protein but low in fat will help create optimum health. * Get enough rest and sleep. * Get away for a while - Read a book, watch a movie, play a game, listen to music, or go out with friends. Leave yourself some time that's just for you. * Work off your anger - Get physically active, wash your car, offer to clean out the garage, mow the yard, clean your room!!! * Have some fun!! Laugh and be with people you enjoy! |
3.1 Stress, Emotions, and Fatigue

Why Driving Makes People Angry

Driving is a dramatic and dynamic activity that involves high-risk incidents and interaction with thousands of unpredictable drivers. Routine events are mixed with incidents that are not routine such as being cut off, tailgated, or having to follow a very slow moving vehicle.

We enjoy the freedom and independence of driving when and where we please. Many drivers do not react well when that expected freedom is interrupted by restrictions, regulations, congestion, and the unexpected actions of other drivers.

The following is a list of emotional challenges that are common reasons why drivers get angry, hostile, and exhibit aggressive behavior: * Restriction. In a traffic jam, when drivers can't get where they are going on time or at the expected speed of travel, anxiety builds up to “escape” the confinement of congested traffic. This anxiety causes drivers to perform aggressive maneuvers to get away or get ahead of others.

* Being confronted with danger. Congested traffic filled with impatient drivers making unpredictable moves causes close calls and near collisions. Being confronted with dangerous situations increases stress, fear, resentment, and rage.

* Regulation. Government regulation and all of the rules associated with driving angers some people because they feel like it is an imposition, prompting them to disregard the rules because they do not agree with them or they are just rebellious.

* Lack of control over the situation. When drivers have no control over their driving environment and are stuck in traffic, the lack of control over the traffic event is frustrating and often leads to anger vented towards a nearby driver. It is the application of the old adage, “frustration leads to aggression.”
Alcohol consumption tends to cause more aggressive behavior. This is another reason to avoid combining alcohol and driving.

Ways to avoid emotional distress when driving include: * Signal your intention to turn or change lanes * Obey the rules-of-the-road * Don’t tailgate - maintain a safe following distance * Separate your vehicle from erratic drivers * Extend courtesy to other drivers * Keep the volume on your speakers low
3.1 Stress, Emotions, and Fatigue

Aggressive Driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as “the operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.”

Examples of aggressive driving behavior include: * Improper passing * Speeding * Improper lane changing * Failure to obey traffic controls * Reckless, careless, or inattentive driving * Making illegal turns * Tailgating * Failure to signal lane changes * Shouting, swearing, name calling * Honking to protest another driver's actions * Shining high-beam headlights in retaliation * Using the vehicle to cut off other drivers * Chasing other vehicles in pursuit * Physical fighting * Gestures
Aggressive driving has several levels and an assortment of penalties - all of which can be avoided if you can learn how to manage your aggressive tendencies when driving.

Law enforcement agencies categorize observable aggressive driving behavior as: * Failure to yield the right-of-way * Cutting drivers off when passing * Not allowing someone to pass safely * Incorrectly yielding when entering traffic * Making unsafe U-turns * Not signaling before slowing for a turn * Driving across highway dividers * Passing in no-passing zones * Passing stopped school buses when warning lights are flashing * Speeding in marked construction areas * Throwing an object from the vehicle
The list goes on, but it is important to recognize that these behaviors are considered “aggressive” by law enforcement because they demonstrate a disregard for the law.

The aggressive driver typically denies that these collision-causing behaviors are aggressive. But it is clear that drivers that put others in danger by the way they choose to drive are hostile, dangerous, and selfish. They want to force others out of their way. These drivers feel justified in dominating others and that’s what labels this type of behavior “aggressive driving.”

Aggressive drivers kill two to four times more people than impaired drivers.
3.1 Stress, Emotions, and Fatigue

Managing Your Emotions

When you detect your emotions dominating your judgment and actions, practice a technique called self-regulation. Postpone the gratification of getting even or engaging in a hostile act. Short-circuit the buildup of rage. * Don't be competitive. Driving is not a contest. * Don't take the aggressive actions of other drivers personally. Try not to be judgmental. Don't jump to conclusions about their behavior or actions. Put yourself in the other drivers' shoes. Perhaps they are dealing with an emergency. * Listen to soothing music. * Cool off when you are angry or frustrated. * Go with the flow of traffic. Do not try to beat it or fight it. * Give yourself more time then you think you will need to complete your trip. Leave early.
Stay focused on the driving task. Using a handheld electronic device while driving takes your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road, making it a distraction with one 3.3 The Cost of Alcohol and Drug Impairment

Review

Alcohol is the number one drug used by teens. Alcohol and drug abuse affect more than just impaired individuals. It affects their family, friends, and other drivers on the road.

On the average in the U.S., one friend, parent, or family member dies every 32 minutes in alcohol-related crashes. Each one of these crashes could be avoided if everyone took the social responsibility “don’t drink and drive” seriously.

Costs of alcohol and drug abuse are not only monetary costs, but the pain and loss of family members and friends.

When an individual chooses to make bad choices, they have to be ready to deal with the consequences of their bad choices. Driving while under the influence of alcohol is always a bad choice.

In Florida, drivers under the age of 21, with a blood alcohol level of .02 or more, will have their licenses immediately suspended for six months. This administrative action is for a first offense; a second offense will result in a one year suspension (FS 322.2616).

Impaired drivers not only harm themselves but they harm other individuals and affect our entire society.

Hard-earned tax dollars are spent policing and prosecuting impaired drivers. Our court system is also tied up with trials and prosecutions of impaired drivers. Those costs are huge and represent yet another cost to Florida taxpayers.

If you are caught and legally labeled as a DUI offender, you will carry the record of the offense on your driving record for your lifetime. There is also a stigma to being labeled as a DUI offender.

The driver who has been drinking or doing drugs has a potential impact on all other drivers who share the road. Impaired drivers are responsible for motor vehicle crashes that kill sober drivers too.

Thirty percent of Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives and many of those people will be sober.

Sober drivers are killed by impaired drivers, especially late at night. The hours between 1:00 and 3:00 a.m. hold the greatest degree of danger of being involved in a fatal crash.

At this point in your life, your future opportunities and options are unlimited. It is perfectly acceptable and encouraged for you to enjoy these years. However, consider the huge changes that can occur in an instant from the reckless actions of a selfish person who drives under the influence of drugs. He/she has lost the ability to make wise decisions.

The emotional, societal, financial, legal, and physical detriments can have unending consequences. There are no winners at all for those who drink and drive - not the driver or anyone else. The losses can result in “a pain that will never go away.” | * of the highest risks. You are not looking at the road ahead and you are not using your hands to control the direction of your vehicle. To compound the risk, using a handheld electronic device requires your thought process to be diverted from the task of driving. * Demonstrate the kind of courtesy you would like to receive from others. * Adjust the air conditioner to keep yourself cool and calm.
Turn a negative driving situation into a positive scenario. Concentrate on the safety of your vehicle, yourself, and your passengers. If you use courteous behavior, you and society in general will benefit from your decision.
3.1 Stress, Emotions, and Fatigue

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Fatigue

It's a busy world. You do so much every day and it is easy to get worn out. Your body demands rest, it can't live without it, and it will shut itself down to get it! If you fall asleep at the wheel, it doesn't just affect you. Your passengers and every other user of the highway system are in peril if you are tired and drive.

Lack of sleep is one of the leading causes of traffic fatalities.

Fatigue can be both mental and physical. Learn to recognize mental and physical fatigue so that you can be sure you never get in a vehicle when your body wants to capture the sleep it needs.

Circadian Rhythm

There is a rhythm built into the human body to seek rest for itself. This rhythm is called the circadian rhythm, and it is on a 24-hour cycle. The body naturally relaxes between 12:00-1:00 a.m. and 4:00-5:00 a.m. - that's why we sleep at night. It is not safe to drive if you have stayed awake during your natural sleep time.

Another time the body naturally seeks rest is in the afternoon, between 1:00-4:00 p.m. Avoid driving during your afternoon "low-time" and during your early morning downtime.

Tired Vision

If you work a late shift or stay up all night doing homework, be aware that fatigue affects your body and your mind. It also affects your senses, especially vision. Fatigue affects your vision because your eye muscles are tired along with the rest of your body and it is difficult to focus.

Microsleep

Microsleeps are sudden, unexpected moments of sleep that last 4-5 seconds. In 4-5 seconds, traveling 50 miles per hour, your vehicle can travel the length of a football field. Microsleep is unpredictable and is only avoided with rest.

Fatigue is Like Consuming Alcohol

Fatigue has many of the same dangerous effects as drinking alcohol.

12 hours awake = same effect as .032 blood alcohol level

18 hours awake = same effect as .07 blood alcohol level

24 hours awake = same effect as .1 blood alcohol level

Ways to deal with fatigue related to driving include: * Get a good night sleep prior to a trip. * Drive with a passenger. * Have regular stops. * Avoid alcohol/drugs which cause drowsiness. * Stop and take a brief nap (choose a safe place).
Remember, NOTHING compensates for fatigue but rest. Don't drive tired or after drinking and NEVER risk the combination! 3.1 Stress, Emotions, and Fatigue

Review

Stress, your emotions, and being tired have dangerous effects on your ability to drive safely. Stress and aggression are often displayed by the way people drive.

Many people think alcohol consumption is a good way to relieve stress. Positive ways to deal with stress include: * Relaxation * Exercise * Good diet * Being rested * Escape with a book, movie, or game * Physical activity * Have some fun!! Laugh and be with people you enjoy! Common reasons why drivers get angry, hostile, and exhibit aggressive behavior include: * Restriction * Being confronted with danger * Regulation * Lack of control over the situation Alcohol consumption tends to cause more aggressive behavior. This is another reason to avoid combining alcohol and driving.

Aggressive drivers kill two to four times more people than impaired drivers.

In Florida you can be issued a citation for aggressive driving if you exhibit these behaviors (FS 316.1923): * Failure to yield the right-of-way * Cutting drivers off when passing * Not allowing someone to pass safely * Incorrectly yielding when entering traffic * Making unsafe U-turns * Not signaling before slowing for a turn * Driving across highway dividers * Passing in no-passing zones * Passing stopped school buses when warning lights are flashing * Speeding in marked construction areas * Throwing an object from the vehicle The list goes on, but it is important to recognize that these behaviors are considered "aggressive" by law enforcement because they demonstrate a disregard for the law.

When you detect your emotions dominating your judgment and actions, practice a technique called self-regulation. Postpone the gratification of getting even or engaging in a hostile act. Short-circuit the buildup of rage.

Turn a negative driving situation into a positive scenario. Concentrate on the safety of your vehicle, yourself, and your passengers. If you select courteous behavior, you and society in general will benefit from your decision.

Fatigue can be both mental and physical. Learn to recognize mental and physical fatigue so that you can be sure you never get in a vehicle when your body wants to capture the sleep it needs.

Fatigue affects your vision because your eye muscles are tired along with the rest of your body and it is difficult to focus. Microsleep is unpredictable and is only avoided with rest.

Fatigue has many of the same dangerous effects as drinking alcohol. * 12 hours awake = same effect as .032 blood alcohol level * 18 hours awake = same effect as .07 blood alcohol level * 24 hours awake = same effect as .1 blood alcohol levelWays to deal with fatigue related to driving include: * Get a good night sleep prior to a trip * Drive with a passenger * Have regular stops * Avoid alcohol/drugs which cause drowsiness * Stop and take a brief nap (choose a safe place) | |

3.2 Decisions

Decisions

Introduction

So far in the course, we have covered the physiological (mechanical, physical, and biochemical) effects of alcohol and other drugs on the body. |

Our next topic is the psychological (mental processes and behavior) factors related to alcohol and other drugs. A fully functional mind is necessary to process information from the eyes and other senses. When driving, the mind must quickly determine how to react to information and then send immediate instructions to your arms, hands, legs, and feet to steer and/or control the speed of your vehicle.

We have defined drug use, abuse, dependency, and addiction and will further elaborate on the psychological reasons why people choose to place themselves in these categories.

Alcohol is often a gateway or first step to the use of other drugs. This module will also address positive coping skills to help resist the temptation to use alcohol or other drugs. |
3.2 Decisions

Learning Objectives

This module introduces you to the psychological factors related to alcohol and other drugs. The topics that will be covered include: * Use, Abuse, Dependence, Addiction * Costs of Addiction * Legal Problems * Loss of Judgment * Safe Decisions
3.2 Decisions

Use, Abuse, Dependence, Addiction

The four psychological aspects that will be covered are: * Use * Abuse * Dependence * Addiction

Use

Peer pressure to use alcohol is found throughout American society. Think about the word “drink.” When you hear a person say “I want a drink,” would you logically go get them a glass of water? The word “drink” has often come to mean an “alcoholic drink.” Here are some examples: * “Let’s go have a drink.” * “No thank you, I don’t drink.” * “He has a drinking problem.” * “She quit drinking for health reasons.” * “You are too young to drink.”

Abuse

When asked why they drink, many young people answer “to get drunk.” While “drunk” is a subjective term, it is usually associated with feeling “high,” released inhibitors, or different behavior. When a person is drunk, they are usually incapacitated by alcoholic beverages. Yet, you can be impaired after only one drink. If a person feels that it is necessary to consume a great deal of alcohol or other drugs to have a good time, to fit in with the crowd, etc., this behavior will occur.

For persons under age 21 in Florida and throughout the country, drinking any alcohol is abusive drinking because it is illegal.

Dependence

Just as a person can become physically dependent on alcohol or other drugs, it is possible to achieve a mental dependence. Mental dependence is dependence that results because a drug produces pleasant mental effects. This type of dependence produces intense cravings and strong urges that lead to alcohol or other drug abuse. It may be more significant than physical dependence.

Addiction

Psychological addiction can be explained by the “addicted to pleasure” theory. Certain areas of the brain, when stimulated, produce pleasurable feelings. Psychoactive substances are capable of acting on these brain mechanisms to produce these sensations. The desire to feel good and have the pleasurable feelings associated with alcohol or other drugs drives a person to continue using the substances.

People at the highest risk for drug use and addiction are those who maintain a constant preoccupation with getting high, seek new or novel thrills in their experiences, and are known to have a relentless desire to pursue physical stimulation or dangerous behaviors. These types of people are classified as sensation-seeking individuals. |

3.2 Decisions

Costs of Addiction

Addiction is expensive and can destroy relationships, disrupt families, cause individuals to lose their jobs, and cause economic problems.

Alienation of Friends and Family

Heavy drinkers often alienate their friends and family. The only people that stay close are those who also drink heavily. While friends initially may seek to provide excuses for abnormal behavior, as time goes on, these friendships disappear. Sexual functionality has strong psychological components which may also be impacted by addiction. This is not only an indication of poor health, but can impact your relationships. Heavy drinking can also be detrimental to family life, often leading to arguments. Family members become alienated because of addiction-related problems. Homes with heavy drinkers often have higher divorce rates and higher rates of child abuse. In the event of a divorce, you may lose custody of your children (8).

Loss of Job

Losing a job not only cuts off income, but it has strong psychological repercussions. The psychological importance of work is demonstrated by one of the first questions we tend to ask when we meet a new person - “What do you do?” Being late for work, absenteeism, and poor performance because of drinking or other drug use often lead to being fired. It can also lead to an inability to concentrate, which results in mistakes and accidents at work.

Heavy drinkers may put off their responsibilities at work - if you never get things done, you will get fired. The work area is often the last component of a drinker’s life to be affected. When an individual loses their job because of alcohol or drug use, this is a serious sign of a problem. This often leads to chronic unemployment, which means less income and also looks bad on a resume.

Personal Economic Cost

In addition to loss of income from being fired from a job, there are many other costs associated with abuse of alcohol and other drugs that quickly add up. Heavy drinking can lead to poor decisions that often come with a cost. Possible money issues related to alcohol or other drugs use include: * Cost of the substance * Fines for offenses * Lawsuits if activities cause damage or injury to another, including legal fees * Increased insurance costs because of crashes, both car and medical * Health care costs, including hospitalization * Attorney fees * Necessary therapies * Rehabilitation * Rehabilitation housing * Vehicle Repairs |
3.2 Decisions

Legal Problems

There are many legal problems caused by inappropriate use of alcohol and other drugs which are very serious, and the record of these issues can follow an individual throughout a lifetime. Examples of legal problems include: * Loss of license * Jail * Probation * Civil suits * Community service * Damage to property, others and your own * Fighting * Damages to your car * Divorce * Loss of child custody * Traffic violations * DUI * Public intoxication
Specific Florida laws related to these penalties will be covered in a later section.
3.2 Decisions

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Loss of Judgment

As related previously in the section on alcohol’s effect on the brain, judgment loss is one of the first adverse aspects of use of alcohol.

Impaired individuals believe their judgment is fine, or perhaps better than normal. The opposite is true. A sober person will likely make a better decision than if they are impaired.

Think about some examples of poor decisions you have observed others making after consuming alcohol or other drugs. Typical examples include: * Driving Too Fast/Slow - Alcohol can cause either of these conditions. For young people, it is more likely that they will drive too fast after drinking because of their natural risk-taking propensities. * Engaging in Sex - Alcohol can make people believe that sexuality is enhanced. In addition, since the part of the brain which permits clear and rational decisions to be made is impaired, they are much less likely to consider the many possible negative consequences of sex (disease, pregnancy, guilt, reputation, etc.). * Failing to Do School Work - Persons who are “hung over” or in varying stages of impairment are unlikely to make school work a priority and the quality of any work done is apt to be poor. * Arguments/Fights - Alcohol tends to produce aggressive behavior at a time when clear thinking has been affected. This often results in physical or verbal assaults. * Spending Too Much Money - This could be on alcohol for the individual or buying excess amounts for other people because of reduced decision-making ability.
The reason for many of these poor decisions is release of inhibitions. Inhibitions are self-imposed restraints that help us keep a check on our actions and stay out of troublesome or embarrassing situations.
3.2 Decisions

Alcohol as a Gateway Drug

Not only does alcohol lead to addiction and dependencies, but it is also a gateway drug. A gateway drug is one which precedes the use of illegal or illicit drugs. Alcohol use has been shown to make it more likely that adolescents experiment with illegal drugs.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that alcohol drinkers were more likely to use an illicit drug at least once, compared to non-alcohol drinkers. Over 52% of alcohol users had used an illicit drug at some point in their lives compared to only 8% of non-alcohol users (9).

People choose to drink for a variety of reasons. These include: * Taste * Relaxation * Cope with problems * Celebrate * Get "drunk" * Peer pressure
While alcohol or other drugs may make a person forget problems, these problems do not disappear and often new problems are created because of drinking or using other drugs.

Positive Coping Skills

Life can be stressful and you may need a way to help you deal with your problems. You use coping skills that can be positive or negative. Positive coping skills involve making choices that resolve problems. Negative coping skills involve suppressing or hiding your problems and keeping them to yourself. Negative coping skills include drinking and using other drugs, acting violently or fighting, driving recklessly, over/under eating, and withdrawing from friends and family. These things just mask the problem, providing you with short-term relief. Using positive coping skills will help you resolve problems and reduce stress more quickly than using negative coping skills. Examples of positive coping skills include: * Exercising * Eating regularly * Avoiding alcohol * Cultivating helpful friends * Learning to say “NO” * Listening to music * Playing games * Talking to a friend or family member about your problems
Using these positive coping skills will keep you from becoming dependant on alcohol to hide your problems. Positive coping skills are a much healthier way of dealing with your problems and will help you avoid all the economic, legal, and family issues that come with alcohol addiction.
3.2 Decisions

Review

Psychological factors related to alcohol and other drugs address mental processes and behavior. When driving, the brain must be able to quickly determine how to react to information and then send instructions to your arms, hands, legs, and feet to steer and control the speed of your vehicle.

If a person feels that it is necessary to consume a great deal of alcohol or other drugs to have a good time, fit in with the crowd, etc., abusive behavior will occur. For persons under age 21 in Florida and throughout the country, drinking any alcohol is abusive drinking because it is illegal.

Mental dependence is dependence that results because a drug produces pleasant mental effects. This type of dependence produces intense cravings and strong urges that lead to alcohol or other drug abuse.

Addiction occurs when the desire to feel good and have the pleasurable feelings associated with alcohol or other drugs drives the desire to continue using the substances.

Addiction is expensive and can destroy relationships, disrupt families, and cause individuals to lose their jobs.

Examples of legal problems caused by inappropriate use of alcohol and other drugs include: * Loss of license * Jail * Probation * Civil suits * Community service
Poor decisions are often made under the influence of alcohol and other drugs: * Driving too quickly/slowly * Engaging in sex * Failing to do school work * Arguments/fights * Spending too much money
Positive coping skills involve making choices which resolve problems rather than just hide them. Examples of positive ways of coping include: * Exercise * Regular eating * Avoid alcohol * Cultivate helpful friends * Learn to say “NO”
3.3 The Cost of Alcohol and Drug Impairment

The Cost of Alcohol and Drug Impairment

Introduction

Alcohol is the number one drug used by teens. Driving while impaired by alcohol or other drugs and being on the road in the presence of an impaired driver poses the greatest threat to your life and the lives of your friends.

The costs associated with alcohol and drug abuse go way beyond the monetary costs of going to court, increased insurance, and crash repairs. When the consequences of driving while impaired involve injury or death, the costs can be horrific and impossible to measure.

Not only are people under the influence a risk to themselves, but they become a risk to others around them as well.
3.3 The Cost of Alcohol and Drug Impairment

Learning Objectives

This module is about the costs associated with driving and alcohol/drug-related impairment. The topics that will be covered include: * Crashes, Deaths, Injury, and Monetary Costs * Crashes are Avoidable * Effects of Impaired Drivers on Others * Risk to Sober Drivers * Victims Do Not Always Die
3.3 The Cost of Alcohol and Drug Impairment

Crashes, Deaths, Injury, and Monetary Costs

On average in the U.S., one friend, parent, or family member dies every 32 minutes in alcohol-related crashes (5). Each one of these crashes could be avoided if everyone took the social responsibility “don’t drink and drive” seriously.

Try to imagine how many people are impacted by an alcohol-related death every 32 minutes. If one of your friends or siblings died because they were involved in a crash related to alcohol or drugs, how many people in your family would be devastated? How would it change your life? How many families would be affected? How many friends would it hurt to never see that person again? So now imagine the impact of having that many people affected because of an avoidable incident that happens in our society an average of 48 times a day. The numbers are impossible to measure!

Not everyone who gets hit by an impaired driver dies. The pain and suffering related to the injuries sustained in a crash may often be worse than dying to severely injured individuals.

People who are caught driving under the influence are categorized as reckless and careless, or worse. The social stigma of being a “drunk loser” may stick with you for life.

Costs that can be more accurately measured are the dollar costs - which are steep! In 2006, the estimated economic cost of alcohol-related crashes in the U.S. was over $129 billion. This includes monetary costs and insurance claims.

Even simple collisions can cost thousands of dollars in vehicle repair and increased insurance premiums. If you were impaired and responsible for a crash or get caught driving under the influence of drugs, where would this kind of money come from?

Florida 2008

In Florida, the numbers of deaths, injuries, and crashes related to alcohol/drug abuse are gathered each year. In 2008, Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported 39% of traffic fatalities and 9% of traffic crashes were alcohol-related. Drivers in the age group of 15 to 19 years old have the highest rate of crashes. Drivers age 20 to 24 years old hold the highest rate in fatal crashes (3). There was a decrease from 2007 in each of these categories: * Deaths - 1,169 alcohol-related traffic deaths * Injuries - 15,736 alcohol-related injury crashes * Crashes - 22,259 alcohol-related crashes * |

3.3 The Cost of Alcohol and Drug Impairment

Crashes are Avoidable

A collision is something that is unavoidable. Crashes caused by poor driving are avoidable. Crashes and collisions are the result of something a driver does wrong behind the wheel - that’s why drivers need to develop good driving habits, follow the rules, and be good, safe drivers. Driving while under the influence of alcohol is obviously not a safe driving habit.

Take a moment again to imagine how many people are really impacted by those alcohol-related deaths that occur every 32 minutes. Friends and family relationships are permanently altered by losses in these crashes. Think about the pain suffered by so many people. The numbers and suffering are impossible to measure.

Law enforcement officers write citations for speeding and for seat belt violations. They also try to remove impaired drivers off the road before they kill people. It’s a proven fact that those things save lives.

The Cost of Drinking and Driving Under 21 = Suspension

In Florida, drivers under the age of 21 with a blood alcohol level of .02 or more will have their license immediately suspended for six months. This administrative action is for a first offense; a second offense will result in a one year suspension (FS 322.2616).

Refusal to submit to testing (first offense) results in a suspension of 12 months. A second or subsequent refusal is a 1st degree misdemeanor (FS 322.2616).

If your license is suspended, you will need to find alternative transportation. If you can’t get to your job, you lose your income. If you can’t find transportation to a team practice, you might have to quit the team. If you can’t drive to the mall or the movies, there goes your social life. The costs associated with a suspended license are not as great a losing your life or being injured, yet none of these consequences are worth the risk of drinking and getting behind the wheel. |
3.3 The Cost of Alcohol and Drug Impairment

Effect of Impaired Drivers on Others

Impaired drivers not only harm themselves, but they harm other individuals and affect our entire society.

Hard-earned tax dollars are spent policing and prosecuting impaired drivers. Endless hours of training and law enforcement time are dedicated to the detection and removal of impaired drivers from our roads.

Our court system is also tied up with trials and prosecutions of impaired drivers. Those costs are huge and represent yet another cost to Florida taxpayers.

When a person is caught and legally labeled as a DUI offender, they will carry the stigma of being an impaired driver and the record of the offense on their driving record for their lifetime. Many people in our society view an impaired driver not only as reckless, selfish, and irresponsible, but a danger to society.

Other costs that cannot be measured include strained relationships, money losses, in addition to injury and death caused by riding with an impaired driver.
3.3 The Cost of Alcohol and Drug Impairment

Risk to Sober Drivers

Mixing alcohol with driving does not just affect the driver who has been drinking or doing drugs. It has a potential impact on all other drivers who share the road. Impaired drivers are responsible for motor vehicle crashes that kill sober drivers too - not just themselves. All drivers who share the road with an impaired driver are at risk.

You don’t have to be drinking or under the influence of another drug to be the victim of a drug-related crash. Three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives, and many of those people will be sober.

On average in the U.S., one friend, parent, or family member dies every 32 minutes in alcohol-related crashes (5).

Sober drivers are killed by impaired drivers, especially late at night.

One study found that a sober driver’s chance of being involved in a fatal crash with an impaired driver is about 50 times as great during 1:00-3:00 a.m. as it is from 7:00 a.m.-noon. 3.3 The Cost of Alcohol and Drug Impairment

Victims Do Not Always Die

In 1999, 20 year old Jacqueline Saburido left her family and friends in Venezuela to come to Austin, Texas.

She traded flamenco dancing and jet skiing for an adventure in a new country and the chance to learn English.

Reggie Stephey was a senior at Lake Travis High School near Austin. He played baseball and football.

Early one Sunday morning in the fall of 1999, Jacqui’s and Reggie’s paths crossed.

In a split second, their lives would be changed forever.

Just a few hours earlier, Jacqui had been at a birthday party with some of her new friends.

It was late when they left the birthday party.

That same Saturday, Reggie met some friends after work and had a few beers. Later, he went to a party and drank some more, even though it is illegal for anyone under 21 to buy or possess alcohol in Texas.

On a four-lane road just outside of Austin, Reggie’s SUV crossed the centerline and hit the car Jacqui was riding in, head-on.

Two of Jacqui’s friends died instantly. Jacqui’s legs were pinned under the dashboard. Trapped, Jacqui begged for help, but rescuers could not get her out. A fire started in the engine and spread to the inside of the car. Engulfed in flames, she screamed for 45 seconds. Then there was silence.

Other than a few bruises, Reggie was OK except for one thing. A blood test showed he had been drinking. Police officers arrested Reggie and took him to jail.

Jacqui was barely alive when she arrived at the hospital. She was burned over most of her body. The pain was indescribable and constant. Jacqui spent months in the hospital.

Reggie Stephey was tried and convicted for causing the deaths of two people while he was driving impaired. He is now in the state penitentiary, serving two concurrent 7-year sentences for intoxication manslaughter. Reggie never thought this could happen to him. He will be 28 years old when he is released from prison. The damage he did, he says, is “a pain that will never go away.”

Four years later, Jacqui’s recovery continues. She has had more than 50 operations so far and has many more to go. To get the medical care she needs, she must live in the United States - far away from family and friends.

Once fiercely independent, Jacqui has come to rely on her father, Amadeo, to take care of her. Amadeo left his business in Caracas to take care of his only child. He has not left her side since the crash.

In May 2003, after many operations to replace her left eyelid that was completely destroyed in the fire, Jacqui was able to have a cornea transplant. The operation was a success, and some of her vision has now been restored.

Jacqui doesn’t want anyone else to have to endure the suffering that she has experienced. When she is physically able, Jacqui speaks out against impaired driving.

Jacqui’s incredible story of courage and determination has touched millions of people throughout the world. Thousands of people have written her letters or sent emails. Many people who hear Jacqui’s story want to do something.
3.3 The Cost of Alcohol and Drug Impairment

Review

Alcohol is the number one drug used by teens. Alcohol and drug abuse affect more than just impaired individuals. It affects their family, friends, and other drivers on the road.

On the average in the U.S., one friend, parent, or family member dies every 32 minutes in alcohol-related crashes. Each one of these crashes could be avoided if everyone took the social responsibility “don’t drink and drive” seriously.

Costs of alcohol and drug abuse are not only monetary costs, but the pain and loss of family members and friends.

When an individual chooses to make bad choices, they have to be ready to deal with the consequences of their bad choices. Driving while under the influence of alcohol is always a bad choice.

In Florida, drivers under the age of 21, with a blood alcohol level of .02 or more, will have their licenses immediately suspended for six months. This administrative action is for a first offense; a second offense will result in a one year suspension (FS 322.2616).

Impaired drivers not only harm themselves but they harm other individuals and affect our entire society.

Hard-earned tax dollars are spent policing and prosecuting impaired drivers. Our court system is also tied up with trials and prosecutions of impaired drivers. Those costs are huge and represent yet another cost to Florida taxpayers.

If you are caught and legally labeled as a DUI offender, you will carry the record of the offense on your driving record for your lifetime. There is also a stigma to being labeled as a DUI offender.

The driver who has been drinking or doing drugs has a potential impact on all other drivers who share the road. Impaired drivers are responsible for motor vehicle crashes that kill sober drivers too.

Thirty percent of Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives and many of those people will be sober.

Sober drivers are killed by impaired drivers, especially late at night. The hours between 1:00 and 3:00 a.m. hold the greatest degree of danger of being involved in a fatal crash.

At this point in your life, your future opportunities and options are unlimited. It is perfectly acceptable and encouraged for you to enjoy these years. However, consider the huge changes that can occur in an instant from the reckless actions of a selfish person who drives under the influence of drugs. He/she has lost the ability to make wise decisions.

The emotional, societal, financial, legal, and physical detriments can have unending consequences. There are no winners at all for those who drink and drive - not the driver or anyone else. The losses can result in “a pain that will never go away.”
4.1 Effects of Alcohol BAL on Driving Skills

Effects of Alcohol BAL on Driving Skills

Introduction

Alcohol reduces your ability to drive and increases your risk of being involved in a collision. There are key reasons why you should refrain from drinking and driving: * Alcohol affects your driving ability * Alcohol increases your chance of being in a fatal collision * Alcohol increases your chance that if you are the drinking driver you will be responsible for a crash if it occurs
This module is about specific ways alcohol affects your brain and your ability to drive. |

4.1 Effects of Alcohol BAL on Driving Skills

Divided Attention

It may not seem difficult, but driving is a complex multi-tasking activity. The driving environment is full of information that you need to pay attention to and it is critical for you to be able to process several messages at once.Examples of the types of continuous information you receive and need to process include: * Changing road conditions * Traffic conditions * Traffic signals, signs, and markings * Pedestrians and other road users * Interpreting or operating dashboard information (speed, gauges, lights) * Changing radio channels and CDs * Talking with your passengers You must divide your attention among many different things on each trip. No matter how often you take the same route, the drive is always different. Your situation can also change very quickly. If your ability to divide your attention is impaired, the chances of being involved in a collision increase.

Alcohol has been shown to affect divided attention at BALs as low as .02, but most certainly at .05.

One of the most dangerous distractions while driving is your cell phone. Several states have already banned cell phone use while driving. In May 2007, Washington became the first state to ban the practice of driving while texting.

In 2009, 18% of the fatalities and 5% of the injuries in distraction-related crashes were the result of being distracted by a cellphone.

Before driving, become familiar with the features of your phone and program the numbers you use most often. If you have a phone in your vehicle, do not use it while the vehicle is in motion. To avoid the distraction of it ringing, turn the phone off or set it to go to voicemail.

If you need to have a conversation, pull over and use the phone only when you are parked in a safe and secure location.

Text messaging or surfing the internet on your wireless device while driving takes your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road. This makes using a wireless device a distraction with one of the highest risks. When texting you are not looking at the road ahead and you are not using your hands to control the direction of your vehicle. To compound the risk, using a wireless device requires your thought process to be diverted from the task of driving.

If you think you are fast with your device and have a stronger than survival need to continuously communicate using your phone or wireless device when driving, think about this the next time you want to send a text message:

If you are traveling at 60 mph, you will travel almost the length of a football field in three seconds. A lot can happen in that amount of time with your eyes off the road and hands off the wheel. |

4.1 Effects of Alcohol BAL on Driving Skills

Information Processing

After information has been received by your brain, it must be sorted out and processed, much like a computer. You need to take in and process a great deal of information while you are driving, such as: | * Interpreting the meaning of different road markings, for example, dashed white lines on the highway versus a dashed yellow line. * Processing the meaning of warning, informational, and directional signs. All those signs are giving you information about hazards, distance, speed limits, and directions to locations. For example, when you see a pennant-shaped sign placed on the left side of the road which means “no passing,” you must accurately judge the speed, direction, and intentions of other vehicles on the road with you. This could involve an increase or decrease in speed, signaling, lane changes, and making turns. Alcohol has been found to adversely affect information processing at BALs as low as .02, but certainly at .05 or greater. |
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Bottom of Form 4.1 Effects of Alcohol BAL on Driving Skills

Tracking and Reaction Time

Tracking

The lanes on our roadway system are not very wide and your vehicle takes up most of that space. You need to be able to control your vehicle accurately and precisely enough to stay in your lane. This is called tracking.

Tracking, or maintaining your vehicle within this relatively small area of travel, requires constant attention to steering and intermittent braking/acceleration adjustments.

If your BAL is in the .05-.08 range, your ability to track properly will be impaired. A common clue to law enforcement that a driver is impaired is the inability to track in the lane. Sometimes this is referred to as “weaving.” Avoid drivers that wander or weave in their lane - the driver may be impaired. Position your vehicle behind them and maintain a long following distance.

Reaction Time

Studies have looked at two types of reaction time, “simple” and “complex.”

Simple reaction time is a stimulus response. If you touch something that is hot or electrified, you do not have to make a conscious decision to remove your hand. Basically, simple reaction time involves one action after receiving one stimulus. This could involve punching a button after hearing a certain sound or seeing a light come on.

Complex reaction time involves you selecting a specific and correct response from several choices when presented with several different stimuli. For example, in a experiment testing your ability to react to a complex situation you may be told to: * Press button A in response to a green light. * Press button B in response to a blue light. * Press button C in response to a red light.
Then the light would come on in a random pattern requiring you to correctly identify which light is illuminated and then correctly select and depress the appropriate button.

This activity is obviously more complicated and would take more time than a response to only one light with one button.

Another example of simple versus complex reaction time is to compare moving your foot from the accelerator to the brake (simple) vs. having to brake, shift gears, signal, and hit the horn in a correct order (complex).

Based on these definitions, driving a motor vehicle often requires complex reaction because when you drive seldom do you deal with only one stimulus. When driving, you are constantly encountering numerous different situations and processing several things at once - and you have to be able to react quickly.

4.1 Effects of Alcohol BAL on Driving Skills

BAL and Reaction Time

An experiment was conducted by the Center for Alcohol and Drug Education Studies at Texas A&M University, using both a control and experimental group.

A total of 19 drivers varying in age, race, and sex were trained on six different exercises involving: steering, braking, judgment, reaction time, tracking, and general car control.

Driving exercises were divided into more complex areas (skid control, crash simulator, and auto control, which involved greater handling skills) and less complex (blocked lane, slalom, and T-Turn, which involved lesser amounts of judgment and handling).

After all drivers were tested in a sober condition, people in the experimental group drank alcoholic beverages of their choice (beer, wine coolers, mixed drinks, etc.). Breath and blood tests were then done and drivers re-drove the course. A steady decline in driving ability occurred as BALs increased, even though they drove exactly the same course on all trials.

Performances on the more complex maneuvers (skid control, crash simulator, and auto control) were affected much more than performance on maneuvers requiring less coordination of decision-making ability with motor ability (blocked lane, slalom, and T-Turn), even though there were losses on even these simple maneuvers as BAL increased.

While any alcohol produced losses, the more complex areas showed the greatest losses. This demonstrates that while you as a drinking driver may steer and brake adequately in simple everyday driving, mistakes are much more likely when you face something sudden or unexpected.

These results clearly show that while you may be able to steer, brake, etc. in many situations, fine muscle control and decision-making are impaired at BALs less than the level of .08.

It should be noted that the control (non-drinking) group’s performance was unchanged throughout the experiment.

This experiment demonstrated: * If your BAL is at .04 you can expect a 13% drop in complex performance compared to the sober level. * If your BAL is .07 you can expect a 17% drop in complex performance compared to the sober level. * If your BAL is .10 you can expect a 24% drop in complex performance compared to the sober level.
4.1 Effects of Alcohol BAL on Driving Skills

Managing Your Risk

Driving involves taking some risk each time a trip is made. All motor vehicle operators accept and take risks. There is always the chance of being in a collision any time you drive.

Your goal should be to accept only those risks where the rewards outweigh the possible losses.

If you are under the influence of alcohol, it has been shown you are more likely to take more risks (drive excessively quickly or slowly, for example) than if you are sober.

Unfortunately, alcohol tends to make you take more risks at a time when you are the least able to cope with the risk involved. There is a multiple effect in action which can lead to collisions, injury, and death. This multiple effect will occur by at least .10 BAL and probably before that level.

The reasons you may take more risks after drinking include: * Impaired judgment and decision-making processes. * Lessened inhibitions may produce a desire to “show off” or release anger and hostility while driving. * Fleeing a police officer - If a traffic violation has been observed, you may try to get away from the officer because of the fear of a DUI arrest.
Alcohol also tends to produce more aggressive behavior in most people (willing to take greater risks or “show off”) while at the same time lowering the ability to cope with driving situations. Risk-taking has been shown to be affected at a BAL of .10.
4.1 Effects of Alcohol BAL on Driving Skills

Review

You must divide your attention among many different things on each trip. These things are never exactly the same from trip to trip and also can change from second to second on any given trip. Alcohol has been shown to affect divided attention at BALs as low as .02, but most certainly at .08.

You need to take in and processes a great deal of information while you are driving, including interpreting the meaning of various road markings and informational signs.

You must judge the speed, direction, and intentions of other vehicles. Alcohol has been found to adversely affect information processing at BALs as low as .02, but certainly at .05 or greater.

There are simple and complex reaction times. Driving presents a continuous “complex” situation requiring the ability to react and do many things at once.

A steady decline in driving ability occurs as BALs increase. Complex maneuvers are affected much more because fine muscle control and decision-making are impaired at BALs less than the level of .08.

Driving involves taking some risk each time a trip is made. Your goal should be to accept only those risks in which the rewards outweigh the possible losses. If you are under the influence of alcohol, you are more likely to take more risks (drive excessively quickly or slowly, for example) than if you are sober.

Alcohol tends to produce more aggressive behavior in most people (willing to take greater risks or “show off”) while at the same time lowering the ability to cope with driving situations.
4.2 BAL and Your Risk of Dying

BAL and Your Risk of Dying

Introduction

In module 4.1 we noted a 24% reduction in a driver’s ability to perform complex driving tasks with a BAL of .10. The average BAL at arrest is often significantly higher than the .10.

With the first drink, alcohol affects the brain. With every drink thereafter, the ability to process information and multi-task continues to diminish. With a BAL of .05, reaction time slows down. It takes longer for the brain to tell the hands and feet what they should do. Higher BAL will result in elevated risk-taking decisions.

The higher the BAL, the higher the risk of a fatal crash.

Impairment can be prevented - don’t drink! The absorption of alcohol can be slowed down by eating, but only time can reduce the BAL level.

What can you do as an individual if circumstances exist where there is drinking? It is a good idea to be thinking about decisions that you can make when you are confronted with negative peer pressure to drink and possibly drive or to be in the vehicle with someone who has been drinking. Having a plan is a good defensive strategy to keep you safe and alive.

Finally, when you are on the road as a sober driver, you should be alert to the behaviors of drivers who might be driving while impaired.

This unit will serve to make you aware and safe if confronted with driving and drinking situations.

4.2 BAL and Your Risk of Dying

The Facts About Blood Alcohol Level |

With a low BAL, drivers may be able to perform simple driving tasks such as steering and braking. However in many individuals, fine muscle control and decision-making are impaired at BALs less than the illegal limit of .08.

Alcohol begins to affect your brain with the first drink. Soon after consuming a drink, upon achieving a low BAL of .02, your ability to process information and divide your attention or multi-task begins to deteriorate. The ability to process information and multi-task continues to diminish with every drink.

Next, at a BAL of around .05, the ability to track, or maintain lane position, is affected. Impaired drivers don’t realize how they are no longer able to perform fine muscle control activities required for smooth steering. This is when an impaired driver can noticeably be detected by law enforcement or other drivers as they weave in and out of their traffic lane.

At the .05 BAL level, reaction time also begins to slow down. This is a result of the slowing brain function - it takes longer to process information and consequently it takes longer for the brain to tell the hands and feet what to do. In the event of an unexpected event, which is continuous in most driving environments, it takes longer to brake or steer out of trouble. Just as all the other driving abilities diminish as BAL rises, reaction time continues to go down as BAL goes up.

As BAL continues to rise, to about the .10 level, risk-taking is elevated. This is when drivers do things they would normally not do. When drivers use poor judgment and take risks, such as speeding or driving aggressively, they have exceeded a threshold that now becomes completely unsafe. At this level, the impaired driver has poor judgment combined with the inability to process information, multi-task, or maintain lane position - at .10 the impaired driver is officially reckless, careless, and a huge threat to society.

The three leading causes of fatal collisions are: 1. Failure to maintain lane position 2. Speeding 3. Impaired driving
One or more of these causes is often a factor in a fatal crash - tracking, risk-taking, and impairment are often linked together and result in a deadly combination.
BAL Death Risk and Crash Responsibility

As BAL increases, the risk of a fatal crash also increases. Studies have examined the chance of being in a fatal crash for drivers at various BALs.

This chart illustrates the risk of being in a fatal crash based on gender and age as BAL rises. In the chart, M=male and F=female. After age 21, there was no gender difference in risk.

An easy way to interpret the chart is a male driver, age 16-20 is five times more likely to die in a single vehicle crash with a BAL of .02 -.049 than a male sober driver of the same age.

With a BAL of .08 - .099, a female driver age 16-20 is 15 times more likely to die in a fatal crash than a sober female the same age.

The chart shows drivers of all ages are more at risk as BAL rises. Young male drivers have the greatest risk. A male with a BAL of .08 - .099 is 52 times more likely to die.

To really demonstrate how high the risk is, let's use a sample scenario:

It’s Friday night. Two members of a winning high school football team have decided to go to a party and celebrate. Player number one celebrates without drinking or doing drugs. Player number two has several beers in a short amount of time and quickly achieves a BAL of greater than .15. Both get behind the wheel to drive home just after midnight. The chances of player number two dying in a crash are 15,560 times greater than his sober teammate.

The time of day is also a factor that increases everyone’s risk. The most dangerous time of day is from midnight to 3:00 a.m. Even for a sober driver, the chance of being involved in a fatal collision with an impaired driver is about 50 times greater from 1:00-3:00 a.m. as it is from 7:00 a.m.-noon. According to the 2008 IIHS report, 55% of teen deaths from motor vehicle crashes occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

There is a myth that people under the influence of alcohol are less likely to be killed in a crash than non-drinkers. This is supposedly because the drinker is more “loose” and limber, but research has not shown this to be the case. A study of the effect on fatality risk at various BALs has demonstrated that as BAL rises, the chance of being killed rises.

It is possible that a driver could have a high BAL and not be responsible for a crash in which he/she was involved. However research has proven that as BAL increases, it is much more likely that a driver be in a crash and be the cause of the crash.

This fact is true for injury collisions and not just fatal collisions.
4.2 BAL and Your Risk of Dying

Preventing Impairment

The best way to prevent impairment is to not drink.

There are ways to slow the absorption of alcohol, but sooner or later the alcohol that is consumed will enter the system and the BAL will be established.

Factors that prevent impairment and slow the absorption rate include food, time, the amount consumed, and the strength of alcohol in the drink.

Eating and drinking at the same time may help slow the alcohol intake. It is a good idea to eat before or while drinking because the body will be busy absorbing food and alcohol. This can slow the alcohol absorption rate by as much as one-third. Foods that are high in protein and starch are best for this purpose. Foods that are high in fat have the least impact on slowing the absorption rate.

Once a blood alcohol level has been established, time is the only thing that can reduce it. The oxidation process occurring in the liver rids the bloodstream of 90% of the alcohol present and is a constant process. This process will lower blood alcohol levels by .015 per hour for most individuals. For drugs other than alcohol, an even greater time may be necessary. Some drugs may be detectable for a period of weeks, as they are stored in fat tissue and readily detoxified by the liver.

Logically, the amount of alcohol consumed will affect the level of impairment. Consuming one drink over the time span of two hours versus drinking it quickly will still affect an individual, but the additional time gives the body an opportunity to rid itself of the alcohol and keep the BAL low. The faster it is consumed, the faster the BAL goes up. If an excessive amount is consumed, it will easily defeat the counter effects of food and time.

Alcohol content or strength of a beverage varies greatly and drinking a beverage of lower alcohol content is one deterrent to becoming impaired.

A defense plan to prevent impairment is to control the amount consumed, extend the time of consumption, and select a drink with low alcohol content.

After considering all of these factors, not drinking is still the best solution to prevent impairment.
4.2 BAL and Your Risk of Dying

Intervention Techniques

The best way of preventing impairment is not to drink. In this section, we will explore methods you can use to avoid being in a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking.

In this stage of your life, you are developing many significant and vital relationships. Who you are becoming is based on decisions, values, and principles that you believe are important. Sometimes, relationships may cause you to question some of your beliefs. This is one facet of peer pressure. Your peers can provide good “pressure” or negative “pressure.”

Examples of good peer pressure might be those that encourage safe and helpful behaviors, like suggesting that a friend not use drugs or drink at a party. Negative peer pressure would encourage someone to do something wrong, dangerous, or illegal. Often when friends encourage this type of behavior, they do not have the other person’s best interest in mind.

Maturity is the ability to be guided by your own values and beliefs, regardless of pressures from others. You are showing responsibility when you can make safe decisions for yourself and are not afraid of belittlement or possible rejection by others.

If opportunities are presented to you that are not within your beliefs and values, suggest alternative activities. For example, “Let’s go see a movie and get something to eat afterwards.” If that doesn’t work, say something like, “Hey, I know I am going to miss being with you all, but you can find me at the movies if you change your plans.”

If you are in a situation where drinks are being served, your first decision should be about your personal safety. Judgment and reasoning are the first areas affected by alcohol. All drivers, those who have been drinking as well as those who have not been drinking, share in the understanding of the hazards from drinking and driving.

Someone who has been drinking might show signs of impairment in different ways. Impaired people are not steady when walking and stumble. They also may talk loudly or have slurred speech. Often direct eye contact is difficult and other unusual behavior may be present.

Use positive peer pressure to prevent friends who have been drinking from driving. It is not wise to drive with someone who has been drinking. See if they will let you drive them home. At the very least, do not get in the car with a driver who is impaired. Call a cab or parent to come to the rescue. Try to be part of the solution - do not drink and drive. Encourage others to do the same.
4.2 BAL and Your Risk of Dying

Avoiding Drug-Impaired Drivers

Other drivers may operate their vehicles under the influence of drugs, and they will be sharing the road with you. Watch for indications that other drivers might be impaired: * Erratic changes in speed * Weaving from side to side * Traveling in the wrong lane * Running stop signs and lights
If you notice these driving symptoms in other drivers, their actions may be very unpredictable. It is best to distance yourself from the impaired driver. Increase the amount of space between you and the other vehicle by allowing the impaired driver to proceed ahead of you. If possible, alert the police of your observation and suspicion.
4.2 BAL and Your Risk of Dying

Review |
Driving abilities are affected even at low BALs. Areas affected include divided attention, the ability to maintain lane position (tracking), risk-taking, reaction time, and other areas. In addition, actual driving tests in vehicles have shown significant declines in ability as BAL increases.

The chance of being involved in a fatal motor vehicle crash goes up sharply as BAL rises, and young people are particularly at risk.

The time of day as well as the day of the week significantly impact the incidence of fatal collisions resulting from impaired drivers. This relates to the driver who has been drinking as well as sober drivers.

Drinking drivers are more likely, rather than less likely, to die in a crash.

Not only are people more likely to be in a crash as BAL increases, but they are more likely to be responsible for the crash. This is true for injury collisions and fatal collisions.

The best way to prevent impairment is not to drink. Factors that prevent intoxication and slow the absorption rate include food, time, the amount consumed, and the strength of alcohol in the drink.

Responsible people make positive efforts to help friends make responsible decisions about the use of alcohol and driving. It is everyone’s responsibility to keep drinking people from driving. Your first decision is to keep yourself safe in situations that involve drinking and drinking.

Watch for indications that other drivers might be impaired: * Erratic changes in speed * Weaving from side to side * Traveling in the wrong lane * Running stop signs and lights
If you notice these driving symptoms in other drivers, their actions may be very unpredictable. Distance yourself from the impaired driver. If possible, alert the police of your observation and suspicion.
4.3 Other Drugs and Driving Ability

Other Drugs and Driving Ability

Introduction

More than one in four teens who drive say they've driven impaired or on drugs. 57% of drivers age 16-20 who admitted driving after taking drugs felt that they were “not high enough to cause a crash.”

About one in eight young drivers believes using recreational drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, speed, or ecstasy does not affect their driving.

In the limited time we have to administer this course, most of the focus has been on the dangers, results, and risks associated with alcohol-impaired driving. The danger of sharing our roads with impaired drivers also includes drivers that are under the influence of other drugs.

Prescription, over-the-counter, and illegal drugs can impair driving skills including vision, reaction time, judgment, hearing, and the ability to multi-task. Driving requires other cognitive skills such as information processing and psychomotor skills, which may also be impaired by the use of assorted drugs.

It is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs. Penalties include losing your license, a fine, and/or jail. Combining drug use with driving inexperience and high-risk behavior can lead to disaster on the road.
4.3 Other Drugs and Driving Ability

Research Related to Other Drugs and Driving

A vast amount of research has been conducted on the effects of alcohol impaired driving. Methods of measuring BAL and the ability to identify alcohol-impaired drivers have become a relatively accurate science. Not as much research has been dedicated to determining the effects of other drugs on the ability to operate a vehicle. However, we know what drugs do to the body and that many people take drugs and get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

There are statistics that show drivers are on the road under the influence of mind- and body-altering substances.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) developed a survey and report to present data on driving following drug use, an area in which previous research is limited.

In-home personal interviews with 11,847 respondents age 16 and older represented over 166 million drivers in the United States. The 166 million drivers represent only those drivers who reported driving within two hours of drug and/or alcohol use.

Driving After Drug Use * A majority (68%) of licensed teen drivers who use drugs regularly report that they “drug and drive.” * 28% (46.5 million people) reported driving within two hours after drug or alcohol use. * 5% (9 million people) drove after drug use, with or without alcohol. * 23% (38 million people) drove after alcohol use only.

Characteristics of Drivers Who Drove After Drug Use

Driving after drug use was more common among drivers who were: * Young (13% for those age 16-20 vs. 5% for those age 21 and older), * Male (7% vs. 4% for females), * Never married (11% vs. 3% for those who were married), and * Unemployed (11% vs. 6% for those employed full-time).

Marijuana was the illicit drug used most often by drivers who drove after drug use (used by 70% of those who drove after drug use).

Among those who reported driving after using marijuana: * The majority reported heavy or weekly use in the past year (60%). * More than half claimed that the marijuana use did not at all affect their ability to drive safely (56%). * More than half perceived that they were no more likely to be stopped by police when driving after marijuana use than when sober.
A large majority of those who drove after the use of tranquilizers and sedatives (84% and 71%, respectively) drove following the medical use of these drugs. In contrast, only 43% of those who drove after the use of stimulants used these drugs for medical purposes. Driving after drug use most commonly occurred on smaller roads (55%), in urban areas (56%), on the weekend (67%), and usually began between 6:00 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. (49%). The data indicates that even if you are not taking drugs and driving, many people are. Drugged drivers are under the influence of marijuana, cocaine, sedatives, and speed. If you do not take drugs and drive, it is still critical that you understand you need to be alert to drivers who are erratic, speed, and seem to be unable to maintain lane position. Drive defensively, especially when driving at night or in an environment that might have a high risk of drugged drivers in your midst (6).

4.3 Other Drugs and Driving Ability

Marijuana and Driving

Marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug in the United States.

Many young drivers don't believe there are risks associated with marijuana use. Approximately one in six (15%) teens reported driving under the influence of marijuana, a number nearly equivalent to those who reported driving under the influence of alcohol (16%), despite higher prevalence of alcohol consumption among teens.

After alcohol, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), marijuana's major psychoactive constituent, is the drug found most often in the blood of drivers involved in road collisions. With some exceptions, epidemiological studies indicate the presence of THC in roughly 4-12% of drivers injured or killed in traffic collisions.

Research shows that smoking marijuana affects focus, concentration, perception, coordination, and reaction time, many of the skills required for safe driving. The drug can make it harder for a driver to judge distances and react to signals and sounds on the road. These effects can last up to 24 hours.

Marijuana is also mind altering. Thinking and reflexes are slowed, causing difficulty in responding to sudden unexpected events. A driver’s ability to “track” or stay in the traffic lane, to brake quickly, and to maintain the correct distance between cars is affected.
4.3 Other Drugs and Driving Ability

Cocaine and Driving

Cocaine is the second most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S. Nearly one percent of Americans are currently using cocaine. Users can be from all economic statuses, all ages, and all genders.

Cocaine creates a strong sense of exhilaration. Users generally feel invincible, carefree, alert, euphoric, and have a lot of energy. This is usually followed by agitation, depression, anxiety, paranoia, and decreased appetite. The effects of cocaine generally last about two hours.

Cocaine is a potent and dangerous drug. The short-term and long-term effects of cocaine are equally dangerous.

The following effects of cocaine may have a dramatic impact on driving ability: * Blurred vision * Dilated pupils * High anxiety * Irritability * Violent behavior * Vomiting * Hallucinations * Chest pain * Constricted blood vessels * Seizure * Cardiac arrest
The most dramatic effects of cocaine and driving are on vision. Cocaine may cause higher sensitivity to light, halos around bright objects, and difficulty focusing.

There is an increase in impulsive behavior and tendencies to take more risks. It also creates confusion in the user’s brain. A person using cocaine has the illusion of being alert and stimulated although physical reactions are impaired.

Cocaine users are often stopped for speeding. When a user has elevated feelings of well-being, it can lead to an overestimation of driving ability. This can lead to risk-taking behaviors such as trying to beat the light as it changes to red. When coming down, users are often irritable, anxious, or agitated, which may lead to aggressive behavior toward drivers they find aggravating.

The long-term effects of using cocaine can include heart disease, heart attacks, respiratory failure, strokes, seizures, and gastrointestinal problems.

The danger of experiencing cardiac arrest or seizures followed by respiratory failure is equal in both short- and long-term cocaine abuse.

Impaired sight, impulsive behavior, and confusion are compounded with the risk of a heart attack or seizure behind the wheel.
4.3 Other Drugs and Driving Ability

Depressants and Amphetamines

Central Nervous System Depressants

Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants slow down the central nervous system. The nervous system is the control center for your body. It controls the ability to taste, smell, see, hear, think, and breathe. It controls your ability to steer, brake, and accelerate the vehicle. Your brain uses information it receives from your nerves to coordinate all of your actions and reactions. When this system is slowed down, so are all of the functions essential for safe driving.

Depressants are powerful and classified as sedative/hypnotics. Sedative/hypnotics are medically prescribed to treat sleeplessness, anxiety, and tension, and to help prevent or mitigate epileptic seizures. Certain sedative/hypnotics are also used to induce anesthesia for short surgical procedures or at the beginning of longer ones.

Besides having therapeutic uses, depressants are often used for their intoxicating effects. Some people take them in addition to alcohol, or as a substitute.

Barbiturates are among the most widely used depressant drugs (medically and non-medically) in our society, and are the toxic agents in thousands of accidental or intentional deaths annually in North America.

When driving under the influence of a sedative/hypnotic, there is a high risk of drowsiness and fatigue. Drowsiness affects your senses, especially your vision. The CNS drugs sedate your eye muscles and vision can become blurred. Reaction time is slowed and so is the ability to make quick decisions. This could result in a driver not seeing a light change or not noticing a child in the street in time to stop the vehicle. When driving at night, it may be difficult to see a curve ahead or an oncoming car in the lane ahead when passing. The possible scenarios are impossible to list - but each could result in elevated risk of a potential crash.

Amphetamines

Amphetamines, like adrenaline, affect not only the brain but also the heart, lungs, and many other organs. Short-term effects appear soon after a single dose and disappear within a few hours or days.

At low doses, such as those prescribed medically, physical effects include loss of appetite, rapid breathing and heartbeat, high blood pressure, and dilated pupils. Larger doses may produce fever, sweating, headache, blurred vision, and dizziness. And very high doses may cause flushing, pallor, very rapid or irregular heartbeat, tremors, loss of coordination, and collapse. Deaths have been reported as a direct result of amphetamine use. Some have occurred as a consequence of burst blood vessels in the brain, heart failure, or very high fever.

The psychological effects of short-term use include a feeling of well-being and great alertness and energy. With increased doses, users may become talkative, restless, and excited, and may feel a sense of power and superiority. They may also behave in a bizarre, repetitive fashion. Many become hostile and aggressive.

It is unsafe to drive after using amphetamines. They reduce coordination and affect the ability to judge speed and distance. Amphetamines also increase a person's confidence so they are more likely to take dangerous risks.
4.3 Other Drugs and Driving Ability

Is Any Drug Safe to Take and Drive?

The only real predictable thing about a drug and how an individual will respond to a drug is it is NOT predictable - this is especially true for illegal or illicit drugs because they are not regulated and can contain dangerous unknown substances.

The effects of any drug depend on several factors: * The amount taken at one time * How the drug is consumed * The user’s past drug experience * The circumstances under which the drug is taken such as the simultaneous use of alcohol or other drugs, etc.
If you are taking over-the-counter or prescription drugs, always read the label and follow the precaution if it indicates to not operate heavy machinery. Warning labels are there for a good reason.

If you are with a driver under the influence of illegal drugs, intervene - “friends don’t let friends drive drugged” and be sure to find alternative transportation if you are a passenger.

It is not possible to go through every drug and its possible effects on the ability to drive in this course. Reference the chart below for an indication of common drugs and their effects of the ability to operate a vehicle safely. How Drugs Affect Your Ability to Drive | Types of Drugs - Examples | Source | Known Side Effects | Amphetamines (diet pills, pep pills): Benzedrine, Dexedrine | Prescription for fatigue and mild depression | Dizziness, hallucinations, hyperactivity, decreased ability to concentrate, headaches | Painkillers: Analgesics - Aspirin, Excedrin | Over-the-counter | Bleeding in stomach and intestines | Antibiotics: For infection: Penicillin | Prescription for infection | Nausea | Allergy and Cold Pills - Antihistamines: Benadryl, Dramamine | Prescription and over-the-counter | Drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, inattention | Sedatives - Barbiturates: Seconal, Nembutal | Prescription for insomnia, high blood pressure, epilepsy | Drowsiness, impaired judgment, impaired reflexes | Anti-anxiety - Benzodiazepines: Valium | Prescription for mild anxiety | Blurred vision, drowsiness, fatigue | Tranquilizers: Librium, Valium | Prescription for severe anxiety and emotional problems | Blurred vision, drowsiness, fatigue, faintness, vomiting, tremors, dizziness | Narcotics: Cough syrup and painkillers - Morphine, Codeine, Demerol, Tylenol with Codeine | Prescription for pain, cough suppressant, and insomnia | Nausea, blurred vision, drowsiness, impaired concentration | Alcohol: Beer, wine, liquor | Regulated sales, age restrictions | Impaired judgment, concentration, and reasoning, nausea, blurred vision, drowsiness | Marijuana and Hashish: | Illegal | Distorted depth perception, impaired coordination, depression, panic, fear, hallucination | Hallucinogens: LSD, PCP, mescaline | Illegal | Impaired senses, hallucination, panic, depression | Stimulants: Cocaine: crack, crank, "ice" freebase | Illegal | Dizziness, impaired alertness, hallucinations, hyperactivity, decreased ability to concentrate, headaches |
4.3 Other Drugs and Driving Ability

Review

The data indicates that even if you are not taking drugs and driving, many people are. Drugged drivers are under the influence of marijuana, cocaine, sedatives, and speed. Even if you do not take drugs and drive, it is still critical that you understand you need to be alert to drivers who are erratic, speed, and seem to be unable to maintain lane position. Drive defensively especially when driving at night or in an environment that might have a high risk of drugged drivers in your midst.

Although there has been much research on the effects of alcohol’s impairment while driving, not as much has been dedicated to determining the effects of other drugs on driving skills. However, we are aware of the effect of drugs on the body and that many people take drugs and then get behind the wheel of a car to drive.

According to various studies and reports, driving after drug use was more common among drivers who were under the age of 20 years, were male, never married, and unemployed.

Marijuana was the illicit drug most often used by drivers who drove after drug use (70%). Research shows that smoking marijuana affects focus, concentration, perception, coordination, and reaction time; many of the skills required for safe driving. The use of the drug can make it harder for a driver to judge distances and react to signals and sounds on the road. Marijuana is also mind altering. Thinking and reflexes are slowed, causing difficulty in responding to sudden unexpected events.

Cocaine is the second most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S. Users can be from all economic statuses, all ages, and all genders.

Cocaine creates a strong sense of exhilaration. Users generally feel invincible, carefree, alert, euphoric, and have a lot of energy. This is usually followed by agitation, depression, anxiety, and paranoia.

Cocaine is a potent and dangerous drug. The short-term and long-term effects of cocaine are equally dangerous for driving ability. Cocaine users are often stopped for speeding. When a user has elevated feelings of well-being it can lead to an overestimation of driving ability. This can lead to risk-taking behaviors, such as trying to beat the light as it changes to red. When coming down, users are often irritable, anxious, or agitated, which may lead to aggressive behavior toward drivers they find aggravating.

Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants slow down the central nervous system, the control center for your body. This center manages your ability to steer, brake, and accelerate the vehicle. Your brain uses information it receives from your nerves to coordinate all of your actions and reactions. When this system is slowed down, so are all of the functions essential for safe driving.

Depressants are powerful and classified as sedative/hypnotics. Sedative/hypnotics are medically prescribed to treat sleeplessness, anxiety, and tension, and to help prevent or mitigate epileptic seizures. Depressants are often used for their intoxicating effects. Some people take them in addition to alcohol, or as a substitute.

When driving under the influence of a sedative/hypnotic, there is a high risk of drowsiness and fatigue. Drowsiness affects your senses, especially your vision. Reaction time is slowed and so is the ability to make quick decisions.

It is unsafe to drive after using amphetamines. Their use reduces coordination and affects the ability to judge speed and distance. Amphetamines also increase a person's confidence so they are more likely to take dangerous risks. Amphetamines, like adrenaline, affect not only the brain but also the heart, lungs, and many other organs.

The only real predictable thing about a drug and how an individual will respond to a drug is that it is NOT predictable - this is especially true for illegal or illicit drugs because they are not regulated and can contain dangerous unknown substances.

If you are taking over-the-counter or prescription drugs, always read the label and follow the precaution if it indicates to not operate heavy machinery. Your vehicle is heavy machinery!

If you are with a driver under the influence of illegal drugs, intervene - “friends don’t let friends drive drugged” and be sure to find alternative transportation if you are a passenger.
4.3 Other Drugs and Driving Ability

Review

The data indicates that even if you are not taking drugs and driving, many people are. Drugged drivers are under the influence of marijuana, cocaine, sedatives, and speed. Even if you do not take drugs and drive, it is still critical that you understand you need to be alert to drivers who are erratic, speed, and seem to be unable to maintain lane position. Drive defensively especially when driving at night or in an environment that might have a high risk of drugged drivers in your midst.

Although there has been much research on the effects of alcohol’s impairment while driving, not as much has been dedicated to determining the effects of other drugs on driving skills. However, we are aware of the effect of drugs on the body and that many people take drugs and then get behind the wheel of a car to drive.

According to various studies and reports, driving after drug use was more common among drivers who were under the age of 20 years, were male, never married, and unemployed.

Marijuana was the illicit drug most often used by drivers who drove after drug use (70%). Research shows that smoking marijuana affects focus, concentration, perception, coordination, and reaction time; many of the skills required for safe driving. The use of the drug can make it harder for a driver to judge distances and react to signals and sounds on the road. Marijuana is also mind altering. Thinking and reflexes are slowed, causing difficulty in responding to sudden unexpected events.

Cocaine is the second most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S. Users can be from all economic statuses, all ages, and all genders.

Cocaine creates a strong sense of exhilaration. Users generally feel invincible, carefree, alert, euphoric, and have a lot of energy. This is usually followed by agitation, depression, anxiety, and paranoia.

Cocaine is a potent and dangerous drug. The short-term and long-term effects of cocaine are equally dangerous for driving ability. Cocaine users are often stopped for speeding. When a user has elevated feelings of well-being it can lead to an overestimation of driving ability. This can lead to risk-taking behaviors, such as trying to beat the light as it changes to red. When coming down, users are often irritable, anxious, or agitated, which may lead to aggressive behavior toward drivers they find aggravating.

Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants slow down the central nervous system, the control center for your body. This center manages your ability to steer, brake, and accelerate the vehicle. Your brain uses information it receives from your nerves to coordinate all of your actions and reactions. When this system is slowed down, so are all of the functions essential for safe driving.

Depressants are powerful and classified as sedative/hypnotics. Sedative/hypnotics are medically prescribed to treat sleeplessness, anxiety, and tension, and to help prevent or mitigate epileptic seizures. Depressants are often used for their intoxicating effects. Some people take them in addition to alcohol, or as a substitute.

When driving under the influence of a sedative/hypnotic, there is a high risk of drowsiness and fatigue. Drowsiness affects your senses, especially your vision. Reaction time is slowed and so is the ability to make quick decisions.

It is unsafe to drive after using amphetamines. Their use reduces coordination and affects the ability to judge speed and distance. Amphetamines also increase a person's confidence so they are more likely to take dangerous risks. Amphetamines, like adrenaline, affect not only the brain but also the heart, lungs, and many other organs.

The only real predictable thing about a drug and how an individual will respond to a drug is that it is NOT predictable - this is especially true for illegal or illicit drugs because they are not regulated and can contain dangerous unknown substances.

If you are taking over-the-counter or prescription drugs, always read the label and follow the precaution if it indicates to not operate heavy machinery. Your vehicle is heavy machinery!

If you are with a driver under the influence of illegal drugs, intervene - “friends don’t let friends drive drugged” and be sure to find alternative transportation if you are a passenger.
5.1 Licensing and Insurance Laws

Licensing and Insurance Laws

Introduction

This module will introduce you to the various licensing and insurance requirements that the State of Florida requires you to comply with.

Florida has implemented a graduated licensing law which contains certain curfew provisions with which you must be familiar. The graduated licensing law outlines the times you can drive if you hold a learner’s permit.

In Florida, there are two motor vehicle insurance laws: * Financial Responsibility Law * No-Fault Law
It is important that you understand these laws because if you do not have the proper insurance, you can lose your driver license and license plate(s) and have to pay large fees to get them back.

Your insurance company will issue you a Florida Insurance I.D. Card. This card must be kept in a place that is easy to reach from the driver’s seat in your vehicle. You must always be ready to show a law enforcement officer proof that you have the required insurance and it is current. The consequences for not having the card are substantial.

Insurance provides a method of paying for loss or damage if you are involved in a collision. Vehicle insurance is a critical part of your driving privilege. You must have the proper insurance coverage.
5.1 Licensing and Insurance Laws

Graduated Licensing

In July 1996, Florida implemented a graduated licensing law which contained curfew provisions which restricted teenage driving at night. This is the period when alcohol-related crashes are most likely to occur. This change may have affected the number of alcohol-related crashes.

All drivers 15 to 17 years old must hold a learner’s license for at least one year before applying for an intermediate license.

During the learner’s license phase, 15 to 17 year old drivers must have a licensed driver over 21 years old in the front passenger seat.
If you have a learner's permit, you may only drive during daylight hours for the first three months. After three months, you may drive until 10:00 p.m.
Once you have had your learner's license for one year without any traffic convictions, you will receive an intermediate license.

If you have an intermediate license and are 16 years old, you may drive unaccompanied between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. If you are 17 years old, you may drive unaccompanied between 5:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. If you have a passenger at least 21 years old sitting in the front passenger seat, you may drive at any time.

You will have an intermediate license until you turn 18 years old. After that, all restrictions are removed from your license and you have a full privilege license (7).
5.1 Licensing and Insurance Laws

Financial Responsibility Law

The Financial Responsibility Law states that owners and operators of motor vehicles must be financially responsible for damages and/or injuries they may cause to others when a motor vehicle crash occurs.

This law requires you to have bodily injury liability insurance during the following times: * A crash where you are at fault and injuries have occurred * A crash where your vehicle has caused damage to the property of others * A citation for DUI, which results in a revocation * A revocation for Habitual Traffic Offender * A revocation for any serious offense where the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is required to revoke your license
Your driver license and/or license plates will be suspended for a period of up to three years if you do not have the proper insurance and are involved in one of these situations (FS 324).

5.1 Licensing and Insurance Laws

Insurance Coverage

You must have the following minimum insurance coverage: * $10,000 Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) (to one person). * $20,000 Bodily Injury Liability (to two or more persons). * $10,000 Property Damage Liability (PDL), or * $30,000 Combined single limits. If you are involved in a violation and you do not have insurance to comply with the Financial Responsibility Law, your driver license and/or license plates will be suspended for up to three years. You will have to pay a $15 reinstatement fee and show the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles certified proof of full liability insurance on Form SR-22 for three years from the original suspension date to get your driving privilege back. In addition, if you are the driver or the owner of a vehicle which is in a crash that is your fault, this department can require you to pay for the damages before your driving privilege is reinstated (FS 324.021, FS 324.131, FS 324.121, FS 324.071).

Under this law, to protect yourself and others, you should have liability insurance on any motor vehicle you own or drive, including motorcycles. In addition, you must maintain insurance coverage throughout the vehicle registration period or you must surrender the license plate(s) to any driver license office. |
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No-Fault Law

The Florida No-Fault Law requires owners of motor vehicles with four or more wheels (excluding taxis and limousines), that has been in Florida for at least 90 days or non-consecutive days during the past 365 days to purchase a policy delivered or issued for delivery in Florida.

The minimum coverage is: * $10,000 of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) * $10,000 of Property Damage Liability (PDL) You cannot buy a license plate and registration for a car, or other four-wheel vehicle, without having coverage issued in Florida. Once you have this insurance, anytime you renew it, fail to renew it, cancel it, or the insurance company cancels it, the insurance company must notify the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The department will then notify you to provide proof of new coverage.

If you fail to provide proof of insurance, your driver license and license plates will be suspended for up to three years.

If your driver license and license plates are suspended for not having insurance under the No-Fault Law, you will have to pay $150 and show proof of current insurance to get them back. If you are suspended for a second time within three years, you will pay $250. A third offense within three years, and you will have to pay $500. Also, if your driver license and plates have been under suspension for 30 days or more for a no-fault insurance violation, a police officer can seize your license plates immediately (FS 627.730-7405). |
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General Information

You will be issued a Florida Insurance I.D. Card from your insurance company. You must have this card ready to show to any law enforcement officer to prove that you have the required insurance. If you don’t, you may receive a citation for not having proof of insurance. If your driver license or license plates are suspended for not obeying either of these laws, you will not be able to get a temporary license for any reason, not even for work purposes. If you make a false statement or commit a forgery about your motor vehicle insurance, you can be guilty of a second degree misdemeanor.

The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will always provide you with an opportunity to prove insurance coverage or be heard before being suspended. You can comply by: 1. Purchasing a motor vehicle insurance policy from a company licensed to do business in Florida. 2. Obtaining a Financial Responsibility Certificate from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility after posting a satisfactory surety bond of a company licensed to do business in Florida. 3. Obtaining a Financial Responsibility Certificate from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility by depositing cash or securities with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. 4. Obtaining a Self Insurance Certificate from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility by providing satisfactory evidence of possessing a net unencumbered capital. Remember: Automobile insurance is an important part of your driving privilege. Protect yourself and others by having and keeping the proper insurance coverage. |
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Review

In July 1996, Florida implemented a graduated licensing law which contained curfew provisions which restricted teenage driving at night. Any driver 15 to 17 years old must hold a learner’s license for at least one year and after that an intermediate license until they turn 18.

Florida’s Financial Responsibility Law requires owners and operators of motor vehicles to be financially responsible for damages and/or injuries they may cause to others when a motor vehicle crash happens. This law requires that you have bodily injury liability insurance.

The State of Florida mandates that you carry certain minimum insurance coverage amounts. If you are involved in a violation and you don’t have the proper coverage, your driver license and/or license plates will be suspended for up to three years.

The Florida No-Fault Law requires owners of motor vehicles with four or more wheels (excluding taxis and limousines), that have been in the state for at least 90 days or non-consecutive days during the past 365 days to purchase a policy delivered or issued for delivery in Florida. You cannot buy a license plate and registration for a car, or other four-wheel vehicle, without having coverage issued in Florida. There are serious consequences if you are involved in a collision and you don’t have the correct insurance coverage.

You will be issued a Florida Insurance I.D. Card from your insurance company. You must have this card ready to show to any law enforcement officer to prove that you have the required insurance. If you don’t, you may receive a ticket for not having proof of insurance. If you make a false statement or commit a forgery about your motor vehicle insurance, you can be guilty of a second degree misdemeanor.

Automobile insurance is an important part of your driving privilege. Protect yourself and others by having and keeping the proper insurance coverage.
5.2 Alcohol-Related Laws and Consequences

Alcohol-Related Laws and Consequences

Introduction

This module is about the consequences that can result from breaking the Florida DUI laws.

Any driver less than 21 years of age who is stopped by law enforcement and has a breath or blood alcohol level of .02 or higher will automatically have his or her driving privilege suspended for six months (FS 322.2616).

The courts will have little to no sympathy when it comes to alcohol-related incidents, especially when a crash results in injury. If you are involved in an alcohol-related incident, be prepared to be fined and spend time in prison.
5.2 Alcohol-Related Laws and Consequences

Implied Consent

If you refuse to submit to a breath, urine, or blood test, it is admissible as evidence in DUI criminal proceedings. Second or subsequent refusal is considered to be a misdemeanor of the first degree.

The first time you refuse, your license will be suspended for one year. If you refuse a second time, your license will be suspended for 18 months (FS 316.1932).

If necessary, your blood may be drawn in DUI cases involving serious bodily injury or death by authorized medical personnel with the use of reasonable force by the arresting officer, even if you, as the driver, refuse.

If you are not capable of refusal because you are unconscious or there is some other mental or physical condition preventing you from giving your consent, the authorities still have the right to perform the test. A blood test may be administered whether or not you are told that your failure to submit to such a blood test will result in the suspension of your privilege to operate a motor vehicle.

Portable alcohol breath testing devices can be used for persons under the age of 21. The reading is admissible as evidence in any administrative hearing conducted under the proper state statue.
5.2 Alcohol-Related Laws and Consequences

Minimum Drinking Age

In Florida, the possession of alcoholic beverages by persons under the age of 21 is against the law.

The first time you are caught in violation of this law, you will be convicted of a second degree misdemeanor which can include up to 60 days in jail. Additional convictions are considered first degree misdemeanors, which can mean up to one year in jail. In addition, you can be fined up to $500 for a first offense, and $1,000 for another offense can be imposed.

If you are under the age of 18, your license can be suspended for six months to one year for the first offense, or two years for second offense (FS 562.111).
5.2 Alcohol-Related Laws and Consequences

Progressive DUI Laws

In the State of Florida, the penalties for DUI become progressively more severe depending upon the number of convictions and the blood alcohol level found.

There is a specific fine schedule established to address the penalties for DUI convictions.

The first conviction results in a fine of not less than $500, or more than $1,000. If your Blood/Breath Alcohol Level (BAL) is .15 or higher or there is a minor in the vehicle, the fine is not less than $1,000, or more than $2,000.

The second conviction results in a fine of not less than $1,000, or more than $2,000. If your BAL is .15 or higher or there is a minor in the vehicle, the fine goes up to not less than $2,000, or more than $4,000.

If you are convicted for a third offense, you will receive a fine of not less than $2,000, or more than $5,000. If your BAL is .15 or higher or there is minor in the vehicle, the fine will be not less than $4,000.

If you are convicted of a fourth conviction you will be fined not less than $2,000 (FS 316.193).
5.2 Alcohol-Related Laws and Consequences

Consequences

In addition to the fines, there are other penalties that may be imposed for DUI convictions. They include imprisonment, impounding of your vehicle, installation of an interlock device, and a felony conviction.

Imprisonment

The first conviction may result in not more than six months in prison. If your BAL is .15 or higher or there is a minor in vehicle, the sentence goes up to not more than nine months.

The second conviction results in a sentence of no more than nine months. If the second conviction occurs within five years of the first offense, there is a mandatory imprisonment of at least 10 days of which at least 48 hours of confinement must be consecutive.

If you receive a third conviction for DUI within 10 years of the second conviction, you will spend at least 30 days in prison. Once again, at least 48 hours of your confinement must be consecutive. If the third conviction for DUI occurs more than 10 years after the second conviction, you may be imprisoned for no more than 12 months.

If you receive a fourth or subsequent conviction, the sentence will be for not more than five years. However, it could be more since you will be classified as a habitual/violent offender (FS 316.193).

Impoundment or Immobilization of Vehicle

Impoundment or immobilization of your vehicle may occur unless your family has no other means of transportation.

The first conviction may result in your vehicle being impounded or immobilized for 10 days.

The second conviction within five years of the first offense may result in your vehicle being impounded or immobilized for 30 days.

The third conviction within 10 years of the first offense may result in your vehicle being impounded or immobilized for 90 days.

The impoundment or immobilization of your vehicle may not occur concurrently with your time in prison. The court may dismiss the order of impoundment of any vehicle you own if the vehicle is operated solely by your employees or by any business you own (FS 316.193).

Ignition Interlock Device

An ignition interlock device is a breath analyzer on your vehicle that is electronically connected to the ignition. This device is about the size of a cellular phone. When you breathe into the unit for several seconds, it measures your breath alcohol level and compares it with predetermined limits. If your BAL is over 0.05, your vehicle will not start. If your BAL is within the allowable range, your vehicle will start. Then, as you’re driving, you will be required to take periodic rolling retests.

The first conviction of a DUI may result in the court ordering the installation of a department-approved ignition interlock device for up to six months. If the driver was accompanied by a person younger than 18 years old in the vehicle, it will be mandatory that they install an ignition interlock device. A second offense of driving under the influence with a minor in the car would result in the device being installed for not less than 2 continuous years.

The second conviction results in mandatory installation for at least one year.

The third conviction occuring more than 10 years after the date of a prior conviction results in mandatory installation for at least two years (FS 316.193, FS 322.2715).
The authorized installer of the ignition interlock device will collect $12 in addition to any fees authorized by rule for the installation and maintenance of the device. Those fees will be deposited into the Highway Safety Operating Trust Fund and will be used for the operation of the Ignition Interlock Device Program (FS 322.2715).

DUI Felony Conviction

If you are convicted of a third DUI offense within 10 years of a second DUI conviction or a fourth or subsequent DUI, it is considered a Third Degree Felony with a fine of no more than $5,000 and/or five years of imprisonment.

If you cause serious bodily injury while driving under the influence or if you are considered to be a habitual/violent felony offender, you will be guilty of a Third Degree Felony with a fine of not more than $5,000 fine and/or five years of imprisonment.

If you are convicted of manslaughter and do not have a prior DUI, you may be eligible for a hardship reinstatement (FS 316.193).

Driver License Revocation Periods for DUI

The first conviction may result in a minimum of 180 days of revocation with the maximum being one year.

If you receive a second conviction within five years of the first conviction, you may receive a minimum of five years of revocation. You might be eligible for hardship reinstatement after one year. Other second offenders may receive a minimum of 180 days of revocation with the maximum being one year.

If you are convicted a third time within 10 years of your second conviction, the minimum is a ten year revocation. Other third offenders may receive a minimum of 180 days of revocation with the maximum being one year.

A fourth conviction (regardless of when prior convictions occurred) or murder with a Motor Vehicle results in a mandatory permanent revocation (FS 322.28).

Even if your driver license has been permanently revoked because you have been convicted of manslaughter while driving under the influence, you may be able to get a restricted license. If ten years have passed since a driver's privileges were revoked and there are no prior convictions for a DUI-related offense, he or she may be eligible for a hardship license. To qualify, the driver must prove that he or she has not been arrested for a drug-related offense, has not driven a motor vehicle without a license, and has been drug free since his or her conviction. The driver must also complete a DUI program. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will then determine if the driver meets all the requirements and may reinstate the driver's privileges so that the driver may drive to and from work only. Effective October 1st, 2011, the ten year wait period changes to a five year wait period (FS 32.271).
5.2 Alcohol-Related Laws and Consequences

Point System

The State of Florida assesses drivers convicted of various driving infractions a certain number of points. Points are cumulative and can result in the loss of your driver license. Here are the points you will receive for common offenses. They can add up quickly and at a minimum can result in the loss of your license and increased insurance premiums.

Leaving the scene of a crash resulting in property damage of more than $50 = six points.

Conviction for unlawful speeding that results in a collision = six points.

Conviction for reckless driving = four points.

Passing a stopped school bus with its flashers operating = four points.

Failing to obey a traffic control signal/sign/device = four points.

Driving during restricted hours = three points.

Driving at an unlawful speed: 16 mph or more over lawful or posted speed = four points.

Driving at an unlawful speed: 15 mph or less over lawful or posted speed = three points.

As a reminder, note that fines are doubled when infractions occur within a school zone or construction zone, with possible civil penalties of up to $1,000. You may also be required to complete a driving school course.

All other moving violations (including parking on a highway outside the limits of municipalities) = three points.

Caught with an open container of alcohol as an operator = three points.

Conviction for a child restraint violation = three points.

It does not matter if you are convicted in an out-of-state court or in a federal court, you will receive the same number of points outlined above (FS 322.27).
5.2 Alcohol-Related Laws and Consequences

Review

This topic introduced you to various alcohol-related laws and the consequences of breaking those laws.

If you refuse to submit to a breath, urine, or blood test in the State of Florida, it becomes admissible as evidence in DUI criminal proceedings. If you are not capable of refusing to submit to a test because you are unconscious, the authorities still have the right to perform the test. And for people under the age of 21, portable alcohol breath testing devices can be used and the evidence is admissible in any administrative hearing.

In the State of Florida, the possession of alcoholic beverages by persons under the age of 21 is against the law. There are severe consequences for anyone caught breaking this law.

In the State of Florida, the penalties for DUI become progressively more severe depending upon the number of convictions and the blood alcohol level found. There is a specific fine schedule established to address the penalties for DUI convictions.

In addition to the fines, there are other penalties that can be imposed for DUI convictions. They include imprisonment, impounding of your vehicle, installation of an interlock device, a felony conviction, and driver license revocation periods.

The State of Florida assesses drivers convicted of various driving infractions a certain number of points. The points are cumulative and can result in the loss of your driver license.
5.3 Revocation, Suspension, and Cancellation

Revocation, Suspension, and Cancellation

Introduction

There are many reasons your license can be revoked, suspended, and cancelled. There are also mandatory restrictions that apply to drivers who are under the age of 18, such as the various times a driver is not allowed to drive.

If your driving privilege is suspended or revoked, what are the next steps?

This module will cover those topics and Florida’s ZERO TOLERANCE law - it is not just a familiar phrase, it is a serious law to remember.
5.3 Revocation, Suspension, and Cancellation

Revocation

Revocation of a license is defined as a formal action to terminate a license. The license, from then on cannot be renewed or restored. It can only be replaced when you apply for a new license.

Your license must be revoked if you are found guilty of: * Driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other controlled substances. * Committing a felony in which a motor vehicle is used. * Not stopping to give help when the vehicle you are driving is involved in a crash causing death or personal injury. * Lying about the ownership or operation of motor vehicles. * Having three cases of reckless driving within one year. Forfeiting bail and not going to court to avoid being convicted of reckless driving counts the same as a conviction. * Committing an immoral act in which a motor vehicle was used. * Committing three major offenses or 15 offenses for which you receive points within a 5-year period. * Committing a felony for drug possession. * Having vision worse than the standard minimum requirements. * Racing on the roadway (FS 322.264, FS 322.26).

Disqualification for Commercial Drivers
The Administrative Disqualification Law states that a commercial driver will be prohibited from operating a commercial vehicle if convicted of the following: * First disqualification for driving a commercial vehicle with an unlawful blood alcohol level (.04 or above): 1 year disqualification * Driving a motor vehicle while he or she is under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance: 1 year disqualification * Refusal to submit to a breath, urine, or blood test arising from the operation of a commercial motor vehicle: permenantly disqualified
5.3 Revocation, Suspension, and Cancellation

Suspension

Suspension, on the other hand, is less severe and results only in the temporary withdrawal of a person's license or driving privileges.

Your license can be suspended if you: * Make a fraudulent driver license application * Allow your license to be used for a purpose that is against the law * Are convicted in a traffic court and the court orders that your license be suspended * Refuse to take a test to show if you are driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs * Misuse a restricted license * Earn a certain number of points for traffic offenses on the point system * Break a traffic law and fail to pay your fine or appear in court as directed
There are also crimes that are not related to your vehicle which warrant the suspension of your license. They include: * Failure to pay child support * Failure to carry insurance on your vehicle * Failure to stop for a school bus * The use of tobacco if you are underage * Retail theft * Truancy
Your license can be suspended for 30 days if you accumulate 12 points within a 12-month period. Your license can be suspended for three months if you accumulate 18 points within an 18-month period. Your license can be suspended for one year if you accumulate 24 points within a 36-month period. When the courts are computing points and suspensions, the offense dates of all convictions are used. Three points will be deducted from your record if your driving privileges have been suspended only once under the point system and has been reinstated. To have this occur, you must have complied with all other requirements. NOTE: Serving a point suspension does not prohibit your convictions from being used to accumulate additional suspensions or revocations (FS 316.172, FS 812.015, FS 322.245, FS 322.2615).

Cancellation

Cancellation occurs if your license was issued because of a mistake or fraud (giving false information or identification) or because you did not complete a department mandated course.
5.3 Revocation, Suspension, and Cancellation

Mandatory Restrictions for Minors

If you are under the age of 18 and accumulate six or more points within a 12-month period, you are automatically restricted for one year to driving for "Business Purposes ONLY." If any additional points are accumulated, the restriction is extended for 90 days for every additional point received (FS 322.27, FS 322.271).

Time Restrictions

If you are a licensed driver and are under the age of 17, you may not operate a motor vehicle between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., unless you are accompanied by a driver who is 21 years of age or older who holds a valid driver license, or you are driving to and from work.

If you are a licensed driver who is 17 years of age, you may not operate a motor vehicle between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., unless you are accompanied by a driver who is 21 years of age or older who holds a valid driver license, or you are driving to and from work (FS 322.1615).
5.3 Revocation, Suspension, and Cancellation

Reinstatement and Administrative Hearings

If your driving privilege is suspended or revoked, you may be eligible to apply for a hardship license or reinstatement.

For eligibility information, you should contact the local Bureau of Administrative Reviews office, driver licenses office, or the Customer Service Center in Tallahassee.
Even if your driver license has been permanently revoked because you have been convicted of manslaughter while driving under the influence, you may be able to get a restricted license. If ten years have passed since a driver's privileges were revoked and there are no prior convictions for a DUI-related offense, he or she may be eligible for a hardship license. To qualify, the driver must prove that he or she has not been arrested for a drug-related offense, has not driven a motor vehicle without a license, and has been drug free since his or her conviction. The driver must also complete a DUI program. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will then determine if the driver meets all the requirements and may reinstate the driver's privileges so that the driver may drive to and from work only. Effective October 1st, 2011, the ten year wait period changes to a five year wait period (FS 32.271).

Not only can you be charged with DUI if you are found to be driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages, but also under the influence of controlled substances.

Controlled substances that can lead to a DUI include: * Prescription drugs * Depressants * Stimulants * Narcotics * Hallucinogens * Inhalants

You will be administratively suspended if you have a breath or blood alcohol level of .08 or above or refuse to submit to a chemical test. The suspension requires a mandatory period without a license. The driver may request a formal or informal review of the suspension by the department within 10 days after the date of issuance by the notice of suspension. This suspension is in addition to any penalties directed by the court.
5.3 Revocation, Suspension, and Cancellation

Zero Tolerance

If you are less than 21 years of age, have been stopped by law enforcement, and have a breath or blood alcohol level of .02 or higher, you will automatically have your driving privilege suspended for six months.

If you are a driver under 21 with a breath or blood alcohol level of .05 or higher, you will be required to attend a substance abuse course. An evaluation will be completed and your parents or legal guardians will be notified of the results if you are under the age of 19.

If you have a breath or blood alcohol level of .08 or higher, you can be convicted for driving under the influence (DUI). If you refuse to take a test, your driving privilege is automatically suspended for one year (FS 322.2616). 5.3 Revocation, Suspension, and Cancellation

Review

In this module you learned about Florida’s laws related to driver license revocation, suspension, and cancellation.

The revocation of a license is defined as a formal action to terminate a license, which from then on cannot be renewed or restored, but can only be replaced when you apply for a new license. There are many violations that may result in your license being revoked.

Suspension is less severe. It is the temporary withdrawal of your license or driving privileges. Similar to revocation, there are multiple ways the court system can suspend your license. Your license can also be cancelled if it was issued by mistake or because fraud was discovered.

If you are under the age of 18 and accumulate six or more points within a 12-month period you are automatically restricted for one year to driving for business purposes only. There are also certain driving time restrictions that apply to a driver who is under the age of 17.

If your driving privilege is suspended or revoked, you may be eligible to apply for a hardship license or reinstatement. You need to check with your local Bureau of Administrative Reviews office.

You can also be charged with DUI if it is determined that you are under the influence of certain controlled substances such as prescription drugs. The State of Florida has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol. You will have your license suspended if you are less than 21 and you have a BAL of .02 or higher. |
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Safety Equipment

Introduction

During a crash, three collisions occur: 1. The vehicle hitting an object (other car, tree, brick wall). 2. The occupant hitting the inside of the vehicle (driver thrown against windshield, passenger thrown from back to front seat). 3. The inside organs and tissue of the occupant hitting his/her skeletal structure (brain moving forward until it hits the skull, heart ripped from arteries until hitting the ribcage).
Whenever an object is in motion, it will continue to travel forward until it is stopped.

Automotive engineers designed your vehicle to help reduce injuries and fatalities resulting from crashes.

There are several impact and restraint systems installed in your vehicle to absorb the energy of a crash and act as a buffer so your occupants' injuries are reduced.

In addition to safety features, Florida requires other functional components in your vehicle. This module will introduce what is required and why these features are in place to lower your risk of injury or death if you are involved in a crash.
6.1 Safety Equipment

Safety Belts

Safety belts are one of the most important safety features in your vehicle. They prevent or reduce injuries and fatalities by restraining you in your vehicle or preventing you from being thrown from your vehicle. Safety belts usually consist of a lap belt (which restrains your lower body) and a shoulder belt (which restrains your upper body.)

Florida Safety Belt Law

The Florida Safety Belt Law states: * It is unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle unless each passenger of the vehicle under the age of 18 years is restrained by a safety belt or by a child restraint device. * It is unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle in this state unless the person is restrained by a safety belt. * It is unlawful for any person, regardless of age, to be a passenger in the front seat of a motor vehicle unless such person is restrained by a safety belt (FS 316.614).
"Motor vehicle" means any passenger vehicle, but does not include a school bus, a bus used for the transportation of persons for compensation, a farm tractor, a truck of a net weight of more than 5,000 pounds, a motorcycle, moped, or bicycle.

This does not apply to a passenger or operator with a physically disabling condition or medical condition that would prevent appropriate restraint in a safety belt. If the condition is duly certified by a licensed physician and surgeon or by a licensed chiropractor who shall state the nature of the condition, as well as the reason the restraint is inappropriate, the passenger or operator will not be required to wear a safety belt. 6.1 Safety Equipment

Head Restraints, Air Bags, and Child Passenger Restraints

Head Restraints

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, neck strains and sprains are the most serious injury reported in 30 to 40% of auto insurance claims. Proper positioning of head restraint can dramatically reduce neck injuries.

Proper Positioning and Adjustment

A head restraint should be at least as high as the head's center of gravity, about 3.5 inches (or nine centimeters) below the top. The backset, or distance behind the head, should be as small as possible. Backsets of more than 4 inches (about 10 centimeters) have been associated with increased symptoms of neck injury in collisions.

Air Bags

Air bags are a form of passive vehicle restraint that provide a cushion to reduce the force of impact in a collision and distribute it over a wider surface area of the body. Serious chest and head injuries often result when a driver or passenger slams into the steering wheel or rim during head-on collisions. |

Air bags are usually located in the steering wheel and the dashboard but may also be found in side door compartments of some vehicles. They are designed to inflate instantly when an impact occurs over a certain speed and, when used in conjunction with a safety belt, can provide the driver and passengers of a vehicle with much better protection against serious injury or death from a collision.

Air bags are supplemental safety restraints and should never be considered as the only adequate safety measure. Air bags are designed to deploy only under certain conditions, usually in the event of a medium to severe frontal collision. Proper use of your vehicle's safety belt restraints is needed to offer protection in all other situations, such as a side or rear collision. Only when used in conjunction with your vehicle's safety belts can air bags be effective.

Special Air Bag Cautions: Children and Small Adults

Air bags, while an efficient safety device, can be dangerous or fatal under certain circumstances. Adults should not sit closer than 10 inches from the steering wheel.

Small children and infants should NEVER ride in rear-facing vehicle carriers in front passenger seats equipped with air bags. If a child over one year old must ride in the front seat with a passenger side air bag, put the child in a front-facing child safety seat, a booster seat, or a correct fitting lap/shoulder belt and move the seat as far back as possible.

Child Passenger Restraints

Motor vehicle crashes cause about one of every three injury deaths among children of age 12 and younger. Among those age 5-12, crash injuries are the leading cause of death. Proper restraint use reduces crash risk for infants and children of all ages.

Florida law requires every child, five years of age or younger, properly use a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device. For children aged three or younger, the restraint device must be a separate vehicle carrier or a vehicle manufacturer's integrated child seat. For children age four through five years, a separate vehicle carrier, an integrated child seat, or a seat belt may be used (FS 316.613).

NOTE: All passengers under the age of 18 must be restrained by a safety belt or child restraint device. If you are stopped for a safety belt violation for a person under 18 in your vehicle that is not secured in accordance with Florida law, you (the driver) will receive the citation. This can include a fine of $30 and additional court costs. You will also receive three points on your driving record (FS 318.18; 316.614).

Although you should always consult your owner's manual, here are some additional tips for using a child safety seat: * The back seat is generally the safest place in the vehicle for all children to ride. * Generally, children under 20 pounds and about one year of age should ride in a safety seat secured to the back seat facing the rear of the vehicle. Consult your owner's manual for specific recommendations. NEVER use a rear-facing safety seat in the front passenger seat if the vehicle is equipped with a passenger-side air bag. This could result in death or serious injury. If you must transport a child in the front passenger seat equipped with an airbag, make sure the child is facing the front and the seat is moved back as far as possible. * Be sure the vehicle's seat belt is correctly attached to the seat. If the seat is not correctly attached, the child could be injured during a collision. Always consult your child restraint device owner's manual for the proper installation, positioning, and usage instructions. If your vehicle comes equipped with a manufacturer's integrated child seat, consult your vehicle owner's manual for proper usage instructions. |
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6.1 Safety Equipment

Required Safety Features

Florida law requires that your vehicle be equipped with certain safety features. These features must also be in good operating condition. Many of these features we take for granted, but they have been installed by vehicle manufacturers to reduce the risk of injury or death in a vehicular crash.

Lighting

Your vehicle must have the following lights: * Bright (high-beam) headlights which show objects 450 feet ahead. * Dimmed (low-beam) headlights which show objects 150 feet ahead. * Two red taillights mounted on the rear, visible from 1,000 feet. * A white light that makes the license plate visible from 50 feet (the plate must be kept clean). * Two red stoplights. They must be seen from 300 feet in the daytime, and must come on when the foot brake is pressed. All vehicles, including animal-drawn vehicles, must have at least one white light visible from a distance of not less than 1,000 feet to the front. The vehicle must also have two red lights visible from a distance of not less than 1,000 feet to the rear, or one red light visible to the rear for a distance of 1,000 feet and two red reflectors visible from all distances from 600 feet to 1,000 feet (FS 316.229, FS 316.221, FS 316.400, FS 316.226).

Night Driving

You will need to drive with extra caution at night. You cannot see as far ahead or to the side, and glare from oncoming vehicles can reduce your vision even more. Follow these guidelines for driving at night: * Use your headlights (low-beam or high-beam) between the hours of sunset and sunrise. * Low-beam headlamps are only effective for speeds up to 20-25 mph. You must use special vehicle care when driving faster than these speeds. Unless the road is illuminated with street lighting, you will only be able to see as far as the light provided by your headlights. Drive at speeds slow enough to be able to stop or avoid hazards such as pedestrians and bicyclists as they emerge from the darkness ahead. * High-beam headlights can reveal objects up to a distance of at least 450 feet and are most effective for speeds faster than 25 mph. * Don't use high-beam headlights within 500 feet of oncoming vehicles. * Use low-beam headlights when you are within 300 feet of a vehicle ahead. * When leaving a brightly lit place, drive slowly until your eyes adjust to the darkness. * If a vehicle comes toward you with high-beams, flash your lights to high-beam and back to low-beam once. * Don't look directly at oncoming headlights. Instead, watch the right edge of your lane. Look quickly to be sure of the other vehicle's position every few seconds. * Drive as far to the right as you can if a vehicle with one light comes toward you (FS 316.217, FS 316.238).Fog or Smoke

It is best not to drive in fog or smoke. If you must, slow down, turn on your low-beam headlights, and be ready for a fast stop. Use windshield wipers in heavy fog. If the fog or smoke becomes so thick that you cannot see well enough to keep driving, pull all the way off the pavement and stop. Turn on your emergency flashers.

Rain

The first few drops of rain mean danger. Roads are most slippery just after the rain begins because oil dropped from vehicles has not been washed away. Slow down and plan for at least two times the normal stopping distance.

In a heavy rain, your tires can ride on a thin film of water, like skis. This is called hydroplaning. When your tires are not touching the road, you can easily lose control and skid. Keep your tires on the road by slowing down when it rains, and by having tires with the right air pressure and good tread.

Reduced Visibility

You must turn on your low-beam (dim) headlights when driving between sunset and sunrise, including the twilight hours between sunset and sunrise or between full night and sunrise. You must also use these lights during any rain, smoke, or fog. |

6.1 Safety Equipment

Other Florida Equipment Standards

* Horn: Your vehicle must have a horn which can be heard from a distance of 200 feet (FS 316.271). * Windshield Wiper: Your vehicle must have a windshield wiper in good working order for cleaning rain, snow, or other moisture from the windshield. * Windshield: Must be safety glass and may not be covered or treated with any material which has the effect of making the windshield reflective or in any way non-transparent. It must be free of any stickers not required by law (FS 316.2952). * Side windows: May not be composed of, covered by, or treated with any material which has a highly reflective or mirrored appearance and reflects more than 35% of the light. * Rear windows: When the rear window is composed of, covered by, or treated with any material which makes the rear window non-transparent, the vehicle must be equipped with side mirrors on both sides. * Directional signals: You must have electrical turn signals if your vehicle measures more than 24 inches from the center of the top of the steering post to the left outside limit of the body, or when the distance from the steering post to the rear of the body or load is greater than 14 feet (FS 316.156). * Tires: Your tires should have visible tread of at least 2/32 of an inch across the base with no worn spots showing the ply. Smooth tires on wet roads contribute to thousands of serious crashes. * Mirrors: Your vehicle must have at least one rear-view mirror which gives a view of the highway at least 200 feet to the rear (FS 316.294). * Brakes: Check to see that the pedal stays well above the floor when you step on it. If the vehicle pulls to one side when you use the brakes or you hear any scraping or squealing noises, your brakes may need to be repaired. * Lights: Replace burned-out bulbs and clean lenses often. Dirty headlights can cut your night vision in half. Burned out signal lights or brake lights mean you can’t tell other drivers what you are doing. Keep your lights adjusted so that you don’t blind oncoming drivers. * Windows and Windshield: Keep the glass clean, inside and out, to reduce glare.
Keep your vehicle in good condition. No matter how well you drive, you are not safe unless your vehicle is in good condition. If it is not, you could have a serious crash. |

Equipment Not Permitted

The following are illegal to have on or in your vehicle: * Red or blue emergency lights. These are for emergency and law enforcement vehicles only (FS 316.2397). * A siren, bell, or whistle (FS 316.271). * A very loud muffler or one that lets out smoke (FS 316.272). * Signs, posters, or stickers on the windshield or windows, except those required by law (FS 316.2004). * A television which the driver can see (FS 316.303). * More than two spotlights, cowl or fender lights, fog lights (in front), or other extra lights (in front) (FS 316.235). * Headsets worn by driver while operating a vehicle (FS 316.304).
6.1 Safety Equipment

The Braking System |

The purpose of your vehicle's braking system is to provide you with the ability to slow or stop your vehicle.

Your vehicle may have standard or power brakes as well as parking brakes. Power brakes require less effort to operate than standard brakes, but they do not change the distance needed to stop your vehicle. Parking brakes keep your vehicle in place while it is parked and can be used in emergency situations when your normal brakes fail.

Required Brake System

Every motor vehicle must be equipped with a service brake system and every motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle, must be equipped with a parking brake system. Both the service brake and the parking brake must be separately applied.

If the two systems are connected in any way, they must be constructed so that failure of any one part, except failure in the drums, brake shoes, or other mechanical parts of the wheel brake assemblies, will not leave the motor vehicle without operative brakes.

Standard Versus Anti-Lock brakes (ABS)

When standard, non-ABS brakes are applied too hard, the wheels "lock" or skid, thus inhibiting directional control of the vehicle. ABS allows the driver to steer during hard braking, which in turn facilitates overall control of the vehicle. In the past, drivers had to know how to "pump" the brakes, or be able to sense the lock-up and release foot pressure in order to prevent skidding. This meant that if only one wheel lost traction and started to slip, the driver would have to reduce braking force to prevent a skid. The advantage of ABS is that the brakes on the wheels with good traction can be fully used, even if the other wheels should lose traction. |

How to Use ABS

Experts believe that ABS is a good safety option, but most people are unfamiliar with its usage. It's important to remember the following when braking with ABS: * Apply steady pressure to the brake pedal at all times - don't let up! * The pulsating of the brake pedal as you hold it down indicates that the brakes are working. * Continue to apply the same level of pressure until the vehicle comes to a stop. * It is both incorrect and dangerous to pump anti-lock brakes.
Brakes often become wet after driving through deep water or driving in heavy rain. They may pull to one side or the other, or they may not hold at all. If this happens, slow down and gently push on the brake pedal until your brakes are working again.

Brake Maintenance

It is critical that you properly maintain your brakes. They are important communication and safety tools. Take the necessary precautionary measures to ensure that your brakes are functioning properly. If you notice that your brakes are getting worse, take your vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible for an inspection. If repairs are needed, have them performed immediately.

Braking Distance

You must be able to stop your vehicle within the distance shown in the graph when you use the foot brake. For the safest driving, keep your brakes in such good condition that you can stop before these distances.

It is important to note that the graph illustrates the braking distance AFTER YOU HAVE APPLIED YOUR BRAKES. You must add a REACTION DISTANCE to this, which is the distance you travel from seeing the danger to putting your foot on the brake pedal. Since 3/4 of a second is the average reaction time, a motorist will travel 11 feet for each 10 mph of speed before hitting the brake. At 50 mph this distance would be 55 feet!

NOTE: Reaction times in laboratories are 3/4 of a second. In the driving environment, your reaction time would be closer to 1.5 seconds and the distance you would travel at 50 mph would be 110 feet.
6.1 Safety Equipment

Review

Safety belts are one of the most important safety features in your vehicle. They prevent or reduce injuries and fatalities by restraining you in your vehicle or preventing you from being thrown from your vehicle.

Florida law requires you and your passengers to be properly restrained when the vehicle is in motion. Proper positioning of head restraint can dramatically reduce neck injuries.

Air bags are usually located in the steering wheel and the dashboard, but may also be found in side door compartments of some vehicles. They are designed to inflate instantly when an impact occurs over a certain speed and, when used in conjunction with a safety belt, can provide the driver and passengers of a vehicle with much better protection against serious injury or death from a collision.

Air bags, while an efficient safety device, can be dangerous or fatal under certain circumstances. Adults should not sit closer than 10 inches from the steering wheel.

Small children and infants should NEVER ride in rear-facing vehicle carriers in a front passenger seat equipped with an air bag. If a child over one year old must ride in the front seat with a passenger side air bag, put the child in a front-facing child safety seat, a booster seat, or a correct fitting lap/shoulder belt and move the seat as far back as possible.

Review and remember the specifics and importance of Florida child passenger safety laws.

Florida law requires certain safety features on your vehicle. These features must also be in good operating condition: * Lighting * Horn * Windshield wipers * Side windows * Rear windows * Directional signals * Tires * Mirrors * Brakes
Keep your vehicle in good condition. No matter how well you drive, you are not safe unless your vehicle is in good condition. If it is not, you could have a serious crash.
6.2 Vehicle Maintenance

Vehicle Maintenance

Introduction

All vehicles can break down - you see it every day along the side of the highway. A breakdown cannot only be costly; it can be extremely dangerous and put you in harm's way. Your vehicle is not just your transportation; it can be your protection from weather and other dangerous elements.
Regular vehicle maintenance and vehicle inspections can prevent breakdowns. Learning about maintaining your vehicle will give you confidence to handle problems as they occur.
Your vehicle's systems include engine, fuel, exhaust, steering, braking, tires, electrical, and lubrication systems. Common vehicle maintenance failures include brake, tire, and wiper failure. Each system requires care. Regular servicing will reduce the problems associated with system failures. |

6.2 Vehicle Maintenance

Routine Checks

All of the different systems in your vehicle require maintenance. Some maintenance is required frequently and other checks are routine inspections. The idea is NOT BREAK DOWN because of system failure - maintenance is conducted to prevent moving and non-moving vehicle failure. Neither experience is safe and both will cost you time and expense. In addition to these routine maintenance recommendations, consult your owner's manual for a specific list recommended for your vehicle. Weekly Checks: * Tire pressure (reference your owner's manual for the ideal pressure) * Tire tread condition (replace a tire if it has tread wear bars showing bald spots, cuts, embedded stones or metal fragments, or uneven wear on the inside or outside of the tire tread) * Check for leaking fluid Monthly Checks: * Interior and exterior lights * Engine oil level * Brake fluid level and disc pads * Engine coolant levelEvery Six Months Check: * Safety warning lamps * Steering and suspension alignment, shock absorbers, and gear box * Windshield wiper fluid level * Brake fluid level and disc pads * Engine coolant levelMileage-based Maintenance: Every 15,000 miles * Check automatic transmission fluid level * Inspect brake system * Inspect hoses * Replace fuel filterMileage-based Maintenance: Every 30,000 miles * Conduct the 15,000 mile checks * Inspect exhaust system * Replace spark plugs * Replace engine air filter * Inspect accessory drive belts * Service automatic transmission * Check battery *

6.2 Vehicle Maintenance

Maintenance Before and During Driving

Before DrivingBefore driving, make a habit of checking your vehicle for any changes in its condition. Notice the tire inflation. Look for low inflation or flat tires. Do not change your tire if you are not experienced or comfortable with the procedure. Clean the windows and exterior lights if they are dirty. Check wipers, horn, lights, and gauges. If your wipers do not work or require replacement, do not drive in inclement weather until they are repaired. After starting the engine, check: * Instruments - Ensure warning lights are off. * Fuel gauge - If it is less than half empty, plan to refuel soon. * Brake action - Push down on your brake pedal. If you feel no resistance, there is a breakdown of hydraulic pressure in the brake line. This indicates a possible brake failure. DO NOT attempt to drive. Obtain a professional towing service and have the system repaired before driving. If the engine does not start, or if it doesn't sound normal, obtain the services of a professional mechanic. DO NOT attempt to jump start your vehicle if you are not familiar with the procedure and have not read the owner's manual for the specific procedures required for your vehicle. As you begin to drive, check: * Brake response - The pedal should stay 3"-4" from the floor and feel firm, not spongy. While driving: * Check instrument panel - Note warning lights * Listen for unusual noises or irregular sounds * Note vibrations and unusual smellsThese indications are warning you that your vehicle is experiencing possible system failure. Schedule maintenance and do not drive until the problem is fixed. | 6.2 Vehicle Maintenance

Leaking Fluids and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Leaking FluidsAs you approach the vehicle, look underneath and around it for any leaking fluids. Color indicates the type of fluid leaking out. * Red: Transmission fluid - check transmission seals * Purple: Power steering fluid - check system * Black: Motor oil - check the engine and replace the oil * Green/Pink/Orange/Red: Coolant - check the water pump * Clear: Water - usually normal condensation or water from the air conditioner Carbon Monoxide Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that is odorless and colorless, which means it can kill you before you are even aware you are being exposed to it. Symptoms of exposure to carbon monoxide include headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea, and fatigue, and are often mistaken for the flu. Your car produces carbon monoxide when running idle, and the carbon monoxide can build up to deadly levels in enclosed spaces. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning from your vehicle: * Never leave your car running for a long period in enclosed spaces (this includes garages) * Do routine checks on your vehicle to make sure your vehicle is running properly * Repair any exhaust system leaks |
6.2 Vehicle Maintenance

Fuel Stops

Gasoline has octane ratings, which are displayed on the fuel pump. Use fuel with the octane rating recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. Using an octane rated higher than your vehicle requires does not increase power or fuel economy. To fuel your vehicle, pull up to the pump on the side where your gas cap is located. NEVER SMOKE around the fuel pump. Operating instructions are displayed on or near the pump. 6.2 Vehicle Maintenance

Choosing a Mechanic

Select your mechanic before you experience vehicle failure. New car dealers and repair shops display certificates and approvals earned by mechanics who pass specialized repair courses. Sometimes only your car dealer has the approvals, equipment, and diagnostics required to service today's sophisticated "systems." Consult with family or friends to locate an experienced and reliable mechanic who will guarantee their work. Visit the shop on a Saturday when customers are waiting for their vehicles to be repaired. Inquire about the service and customer service that current customers are experiencing. Make sure the mechanic(s) are ASE Certified. The National institute for Automotive Service Excellence is a professional certification testing organization for mechanics. Most service shops will not hire mechanics who are not certified by the ASE. Mechanics who pass the certification test demonstrate their knowledge and professionalism, and are therefore more reliable (on paper, at least) than those who do not become ASE Certified. You can find ASE-approved auto repair shops in your area by visiting the ASE web site. Ensure your repair facility has the manufacturer's approval to maintain your vehicle. Before you have work done on your vehicle, ask for a detailed estimate. Shop around - eliminate the highest and lowest estimate. The estimate should list the service, the parts, and labor as separate line items. Do not authorize any work to be done that you have not approved on the estimate. If parts are replaced, request the replaced parts be returned to you when you pick up your vehicle. Keep copies of all service and maintenance records related to your vehicle. Audio Read-AlongTired of reading? Listen to the entire course with our audio read-along feature. Now at a discounted price. | Page 8 of 8 | | | 6.2 Vehicle Maintenance

Review

All of the different systems in your vehicle require maintenance. Some maintenance or inspections are required frequently and other checks are based on miles driven. * Weekly - Check tire pressure and tread for wear or damages. * Monthly - Check lights, tires, and fluid levels. * Every six months - Check lamps, fluids, connections, belts, wipers. * Before driving - Check the instrument panel. Make a habit of checking your vehicle for any changes in its condition. As you approach the vehicle, look underneath and around it for any leaking fluids. * After starting the engine - Check instruments, gauges, and brake action. If the engine does not start, or if it doesn't sound normal, obtain the services of a professional mechanic. * While driving - Notice vibrations and listen for unusual noises or irregular sounds and smells. Miles traveled = wear and tear on your vehicle, which requires maintenance. * Approximately every 3,000 - 5,000 miles - Change the oil and oil filter, rotate tires, and lubricate the chassis. * Approximately every 15,000 and 30,000 miles - Conduct maintenance as recommended in your owner's manual. Use fuel with the octane rating recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. Operating instructions are displayed on or near the pump. NEVER SMOKE around the fuel pump. Select your mechanic before you experience vehicle failure. Ensure your repair facility has the manufacturer's approval to maintain your vehicle. Before you have work done on your vehicle, ask for a detailed estimate. Do not authorize any work to be done that you have not approved on the estimate. If parts are replaced, request the replaced parts be returned to you when you pick up your vehicle. Always keep copies of all service and maintenance records related to your vehicle. | |
6.3 Signs, Signals, and Markings

Signs, Signals, and Markings
Introduction

The Highway Transportation System (HTS) uses traffic control devices to visually communicate messages to drivers using signs, signals, and road markings. Traffic controls are necessary to ensure orderly, predictable movement of traffic.

Transportation professionals create traffic rules and regulations with careful consideration related to driver capabilities, roadway structure, and vehicle crash history.

Traffic controls in the state of Florida serve several purposes. Signs, signals, and markings warn you of changing road conditions, tell you what to do, and help guide your way.

To operate safely in the highway transportation system, all drivers must know, recognize, and obey the rules-of-the-road.

Responding appropriately to traffic signs and signals is a key factor in reducing driver risk. Be aware of new signs and signals and adjust to changing traffic patterns and roadways design. 6.3 Signs, Signals, and Markings

Signs

There is a national standard for signage, which uses symbols designed for quick and easy understanding; they utilize uniform colors and shapes so you can quickly interpret their meaning.

There are three categories of signs: * Warning * Regulatory * Guide Signs also have specific colors and special shapes associated with their meanings. Signs are designed specifically for drivers to see and quickly recognize their messages and meanings.

Warning Signs

Warning signs "warn" drivers of road and traffic conditions and communicate hazards that lie ahead. Warning signs are diamond-shaped and usually yellow. Warning signs communicate danger and are read from the top to the bottom. Be prepared to slow or stop when you see a warning sign. |
Warning signs do not tell you what to do, they warn you of approaching or potential danger. Warning signs with a speed posted on them indicate a reduction of speed may be necessary. These speeds are determined to be the safest speed to travel in good conditions. Do not assume you can safely travel faster than the sign indicates.

Construction Signs |
Orange, diamond-shaped, or rectangular signs alert drivers of construction zones. Be ready to slow, stop, or drive around equipment and workers. Travel though construction zones carefully and follow the directions received from the construction workers. Be cautious about your position in the lane. Often construction zones have no shoulder or extra space in which you can maneuver.

Regulatory Signs

Regulatory signs communicate laws all drivers must understand and obey. Regulatory signs are usually red, black, or red on white. Stop signs and yield signs are regulatory signs that were given unique and distinctive shapes. |
Stop signs are octagonal. They are red with white letters and a white border. Stop signs are located on roads that cross a through street. Always come to a full and complete stop at a stop sign. A full stop means that you stop forward motion. If there is a white stop line painted on the road, stop behind the line. If there is no white stop line, stop before entering the intersection. When you have stopped, yield the right-of-way to pedestrians or other vehicles that are approaching or already in the intersection.

Yield signs are red and white inverted triangles. Yield signs are located where roads cross or merge. To yield means to allow others to use the intersection before you enter. The right-of-way means you accept the privilege of the roadway. To yield the right-of-way means you give the privilege of the roadway to another road user, such as allowing a pedestrian to use the road or allowing traffic approaching the intersection to continue without your vehicle interfering with their speed or path. When you approach a yield sign, you are not required to stop - you are required to yield, slow down, and always be prepared to stop. Proceed only when there is no traffic in the lane you are about to enter.

If you are given a yield sign or stop sign but another driver has to slow down or stop when you enter the intersection, you have not successfully yielded the right-of-way.

Other regulatory signs include speed limit signs, turning restrictions, lane use, and parking restrictions.

Guide Signs

Guide signs provide information about routes, exits, location, distances, points of interest, and services. |
Route markers are posted on local, U.S., and interstate routes. Interstate route signs are red, white, and blue shields. Route signs vary according to the type of roadway. State and county signs vary from state to state. Route signs have the road number posted on them. Other guide signs include destination and mileage signs, roadside service signs, and signs that direct you to recreational areas. Service signs are blue. Recreational signs are brown.

Shapes also provide you with critical driving information. For example: * A STOP sign is an octagon. * A YIELD sign is a triangle. * A railroad crossing sign is round. * A regulatory sign is a vertical rectangle. * A school sign is a pentagon. * A NO PASSING sign is pennant-shaped. * A warning sign is diamond-shaped. * Information and guide signs are horizontal rectangles. |
6.3 Signs, Signals, and Markings

Signals

Every time vehicles travel in opposing directions and at different speeds, the potential for a crash exists. Traffic engineers use signals in combination with signs and markings to help control busy intersections. Signals are bright and are easier to see both day and night. They are positioned so they can be seen above and to the side of traffic flow. Signals sometimes are the only traffic controls that the driver can see because of darkness, weather, or glare.

Signals have lights with colors that have distinct and consistent meanings. Understand what each signal color means and always obey the signal, it is the law. When lights are not working, drivers should stop and follow the procedures used at an intersection controlled by a four-way stop.

Red Light

A red signal light means STOP. You must come to a full stop. A right turn can be made against a red light after you stop and yield to pedestrians and vehicles in your path. DO NOT turn if there is a sign posted for NO TURN ON RED. The fine for a red light violation is $158.

Yellow Light

A yellow signal light warns you that the red signal is about to appear. When you see the yellow light, you should stop, if you can do so safely. If you can’t stop, look out for vehicles that may enter the intersection when the light changes. Recognize that it is illegal to enter an intersection after the signal turns red.

Green Light

A green signal light means GO, but first you must let any vehicles, bicycles, or pedestrians remaining in the intersection clear the intersection before you move ahead. Make a left turn only if you have enough space to complete the turn before any oncoming vehicle, bicycle, or pedestrian becomes a hazard.

Red Arrow

A red arrow means STOP until the green signal or green arrow appears. A turn may not be made against a red arrow.

Yellow Arrow

A yellow arrow means come to a complete stop if you can do so safely. Be prepared to obey the next signal that could be the green or red light or the red arrow.

Green Arrow

A green arrow means GO, but first you must let any vehicles, bicycles, or pedestrians remaining in the intersection when your signal changes to green get through before you move ahead. Make the left turn only if you have enough space to complete the turn before any oncoming vehicle, bicycle, or pedestrian becomes a hazard.

Flashing Red

A flashing red signal light means exactly the same as a STOP sign: namely, STOP! After stopping, proceed when safe, observing the right-of-way rules.

Flashing Yellow

A flashing yellow signal light warns you to be careful. Slow down and be especially alert.

Lane Signals

Overhead lane-use signals tell you if it is clear for you to use the lane or whether the lane is open to oncoming traffic only.

Reversible lanes allow traffic on crowded roadways to go in one direction at certain times of day and in the opposite direction at other times of day.

Green Arrow

You may drive in the lane indicated when a green arrow is pointed downward.

Yellow X

As soon as you can do so safely, move over into a lane with a downward-pointing green arrow.

Flashing Yellow X

You can make a left turn at the intersection where the signal is located.

Red X

Stay out of this lane. It is open to oncoming traffic.

Intersection Safety

Drivers run red lights frequently. The most dangerous time to enter an intersection is immediately after the light has turned green - other drivers might be trying to “beat the yellow light.” Do not enter an intersection, even when the light is green, unless there is enough space to completely cross before the light turns red. If heavy traffic causes you to block traffic, you can be cited.

When you enter an intersection, scan for traffic controls, prohibitive signs, and potential hazards. If the light is yellow at a controlled intersection, stop safely before entering the intersection. If you are already in the intersection and cannot stop safely, proceed through at a constant speed and watch carefully for cross traffic.

Controlled intersections use some form of: * Signal lights * Flashing signal lights * Circular arrows * Right-turn-on-red signals * Designated lanes | |

6.3 Signs, Signals, and Markings

Markings

Markings are like signs and signals; they communicate the law and are painted on the road for your safety and to regulate the flow of traffic.

There are lines, arrows, and words painted all over the roadways. White lines, yellow lines, solid lines, and broken lines all have various meanings. Arrows point you in the correct direction to travel and words on the road tell you what to do or regulate lane traffic.

In inclement weather conditions such as heavy rain, snow, or fog, road markings might be the only communication visual available for you to identify where your lane is.

Pavement and Curb Markings

The following roadway markings are painted on the pavement and curbs to warn and direct drivers. They can be lines, symbols, letters, or words.

Yellow Center Line Markings The pattern of yellow lines on a road tells the driver whether passing is allowed. They may be solid or broken lines, or a combination of solid and broken yellow lines. They may also be single or double lines. The following types of yellow lines tell you whether passing is allowed: * Broken line - passing is allowed if there are no oncoming cars. * Solid line next to broken line - passing is allowed if there are no oncoming cars and you are next to the broken line. Passing is not allowed if you are next to the solid line. * Double solid lines on two-lane roadways - no passing is allowed. * Double solid lines on four-lane roadways - no passing is allowed. |

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White Line Markings

Broken white lines - These lines separate traffic moving in the same direction and may be crossed when you are merging or changing lanes.

Solid white lines - These lines are used to separate driving lanes or a bicycle lane and to mark fixed obstacles, such as bridge supports, on one-way roads. Solid white lines should never be crossed.

White lines with arrows - These lines indicate the direction of traffic. They can indicate one-way traffic or permissible turning lanes at an intersection.

Curb Markings

Curbs are painted to regulate parking. There are special parking rules that go with each color.

Yellow curb marking - This is a loading zone and you may stop only to unload or load things or people.

Green curb marking - This is a time-limited parking zone. The time is usually painted on the curb or shown on a sign next to the curb.

White curb marking - This is an area that permits stopping for brief periods only when you are picking up or dropping off passengers or mail.

Red curb marking - This is an area where there is no stopping, parking, loading, or standing. Buses may stop if the area is marked allowing them to stop.

Blue curb marking - This is a parking zone for the disabled. To park here, you must have a placard or your license plate must be specially marked. |

6.3 Signs, Signals, and Markings

Additional Pavement Markings

Bike Lanes

A bicycle lane is shown by a solid white line along either side of the street, four or more feet from the curb. The words “BIKE LANE” are painted at various locations in this lane. Near a corner, this line will usually be a broken line. Motor vehicles are permitted to enter the bike lane only where the line is broken and only in order to make a right turn. Roadways with bike lanes may also have green “BIKE ROUTE” or white “BIKE LANE” signs posted.

Large Broken Lines on the Freeway and City Streets

Lanes that are ending will usually be marked by large broken lines painted on the pavement.

Obstructions

These are white pavement markings that indicate an upcoming obstruction, such as a bump or dip.

Stop Lines

Stop lines or “stop bars” are solid white lines stretching across one or more lanes in the same direction, indicating the proper place to come to a stop at an intersection. Stop before your front bumper crosses this line.

Crosswalk Markings

Every intersection where streets with sidewalks meet “at about right angles” has a crosswalk for pedestrians to cross the street even though there may be no painted lines. Crosswalks are that part of the pavement where the sidewalk lines would extend across the street and are areas set aside for people to cross. They are often marked with white lines. Yellow crosswalk lines may be painted at school crossings. If you stop at an intersection, always stay clear of these crosswalks, stopping before your front bumper enters the path.

School Warning Markings

These white or yellow pavement markings read SCHOOL ZONE and indicate that you are approaching a school zone and should reduce your speed accordingly.

School Buses

When driving on a two-way street or highway, vehicles moving in either direction must stop for a school bus with red flashing lights. When yellow lights are flashing, prepare to stop because children are preparing to leave the bus. When red lights are flashing, stop, and remain stopped as long as the lights are flashing, since children will be crossing to or from the bus.

You need not stop when driving on a divided highway in the opposite direction of a school bus displaying flashing lights if there is an unpaved space at least five feet wide, a raised median, or a physical barrier. Remember, if you are driving in the same direction as the school bus, you must stop for flashing lights even on divided highways (FS 316.172).

As per Florida statutes, passing a stopped school bus with flashing lights will result in a $100 violation. For a second or subsequent offense within a period of five years, the Department shall suspend the driver license of the person for not less than 90 days and not more than six months. If a motorist passes a stopped bus with flashing lights on the side where children board or get off the bus, the fine doubles and the suspension increases to not less than 180 days and not more than one year. There will be an additional $65 fine that goes to the Department of Revenue for deposit into the Administrative Trust Fund of the Department of Health to be used for trauma payments (FS 316.172; 318.18; 322.27). |
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Railroad Crossings

Railroad crossings are one of the deadliest types of intersections. If a train is entering the railroad crossing, it always has the right-of-way. Railroad intersections have crossbuck signs posted, but not all are controlled with signals and gates.

Most collisions are the result of human error. People do not obey the warning signals, they try to outrun the train, or they ignore the crossing barriers. Never try to judge a train’s speed or distance. Expect a train on any track in any direction at any time.

Controls at railroad crossings include: * Warning signs * Crossing gates * Signals * Flashing lights * White pavement roadway markings Guidelines to Rail-Crossing Safety: * Obey any controls at the crossing; if there are no controls, look and listen to the left, to the right, and back to the left again. * If a train is approaching, stop far away from the tracks (within 50 feet, but not less than 15 feet). * Proceed with caution after the train has passed; there may be another train coming. |
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Review

Traffic controls are necessary to ensure the orderly, predictable movement of traffic. Traffic controls in the state of Florida serve several purposes. Signs, signals, and markings warn you of changing road conditions, tell you what to do, and help guide your way. To operate safely in the highway transportation system, all drivers must know, recognize, and obey the rules-of-the-road.

There is a national standard for signage, which uses symbols designed for quick and easy understanding; they utilize uniform colors and shapes so you can quickly interpret their meaning.

There are three categories of signs: * Warning * Regulatory * Guide Warning signs “warn” drivers of road and traffic conditions and communicate hazards that lie ahead. Warning signs are diamond-shaped and usually yellow. Warning signs communicate danger and are read from the top to the bottom. Be prepared to slow or stop when you see a warning sign.

Orange, diamond-shaped, or rectangular signs alert drivers of construction zones. Be ready to slow, stop, or drive around equipment and workers.

Regulatory signs communicate laws all drivers must understand and obey. Regulatory signs are usually red, black, or red on white. Stop signs and yield signs are regulatory signs that were given unique and distinctive shapes.

Guide signs provide information about routes, exits, location, distances, points of interest, and services.

Traffic engineers use signals in combination with signs and markings to help control busy intersections.

Signals have lights with colors that have distinct and consistent meanings. Understand what each signal color means and always obey the signal; it is the law. When lights are not working, drivers should stop and follow the procedures used at an intersection controlled by a four-way stop.

Drivers run red lights frequently. The most dangerous time to enter an intersection is immediately after the light has turned green; other drivers might be trying to “beat the yellow light.” Do not enter an intersection, even when the light is green, unless there is enough space to completely cross before the light turns red. If heavy traffic causes you to block traffic, you can be cited.

Markings communicate the law and are painted on the road for your safety and to regulate the flow of traffic.

The following types of yellow lines tell you whether passing is allowed: * Broken line - passing is allowed if there are no oncoming cars. * Solid line next to broken line - passing is allowed if there are no oncoming cars and you are next to the broken line. Passing is not allowed if you are next to the solid line. * Double solid lines on two-lane roadways - no passing is allowed. * Double solid lines on four-lane roadways - no passing is allowed. Solid white lines should never be crossed. Lanes that are ending will usually be marked by large broken lines painted on the pavement. Every intersection where streets with sidewalks meet “at about right angles” has a crosswalk for pedestrians to cross the street even though there may be no painted lines.

Stop before your front bumper crosses the “stop bar” at an intersection.

Crosswalks are often marked with white lines. Yellow crosswalk lines may be painted at school crossings. If you stop at an intersection, always stay clear of these crosswalks, stopping before your front bumper enters the path. Always yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.

School Warning Markings are white or yellow pavement markings that read SCHOOL ZONE and indicate that you are approaching a school zone and should reduce your speed accordingly.

If you are driving in the same direction as the school bus, you must stop if the red lights are flashing. In Florida, passing a stopped school bus with flashing lights will result in a 4 point violation. In addition to the points, the court shall impose a minimum civil penalty of $100 (FS 316.172; 318.18; 322.27).

Railroad crossings are one of the deadliest types of intersections. If a train is entering the railroad crossing, it always has the right-of-way. Railroad intersections have crossbuck signs posted but not all are controlled with signals and gates. Expect a train on any track in any direction at any time. | 6.4 Speed Laws and Right-of-Way

Speed Laws and Right-of-Way

Introduction

In this module you will learn about the speed laws and the rules for yielding the right-of-way in the State of Florida.

Some of the other subjects covered will be the Florida speed laws and speed laws for specifically designated areas.

You need to be prepared to know what to do when you share the roadway with other users. There are specific laws to follow when your driving environment includes: * Emergency vehicles * School buses * Funeral processions * Public transit * Open intersections * Roundabouts * Pedestrians * Bicyclists * Blind persons * Mobility-impaired persons
6.4 Speed Laws and Right-of-Way

Florida Speed Laws

Basic speed laws exist to remind drivers that they must never drive faster than is safe for the present conditions, regardless of the posted speed limit. No matter what the speed limit sign may say, your speed should depend on the following factors: * The number and the speed of the other cars traveling on the road with you. * The condition of the road surface: smooth, rough, graveled, wet, dry, wide, or narrow. * The presence of bicyclists or pedestrians walking along the edge of the road. * The presence and amount of rain, fog, snow, ice, wind, or dust in the air.
Be careful, since it may actually be illegal to drive at the posted speed limit if weather, visibility, traffic, and roadway surface conditions adversely affect the driving environment.

The minimum speed laws exist to prevent you from traveling at such slow speeds that they block the normal and reasonable flow of traffic. The minimum speed limit on all highways that are four lanes or more is 40 mph. If the posted speed limit is 70 mph, the minimum speed limit is 50 mph (FS 316.183).

Unless otherwise posted, the following are the maximum speed limits for certain designated areas in Florida: * 30 mph in municipal speed areas * 30 mph in business or residential areas * 70 mph on rural interstate highways (limits may be changed on other multi-lane highways and in areas where the conditions require lower speeds) * 70 mph on limited access highways * 55 mph on all other roads and highways * 20 mph in school zones (FS 316.183, FS 316.187, FS 316.189, FS 316.1895)
You must observe and obey the posted speed signs. You may encounter frequent changes from area to area along the roads or highways. In special traffic lanes and construction zones, observe the signs for different posted speed limits.

Be aware that Florida laws stipulate that if you are cited for exceeding the speed limit by up to five mph in a legally posted school zone, you will be fined $50.

If you further exceed the speed limit in a school zone, you will pay a fine double the amount of normal fines for speeding. Fines for speeding in a construction zone where workers are present or operating equipment are double that of regular speeding penalties (FS 318.18).
6.4 Speed Laws and Right-of-Way

Intersection Right-of-Way

Right-of-Way

Who has the right-of-way in Florida? The answer is no one! The law only says who must yield (give up) the right-of-way. Every driver, motorcyclist, moped rider, bicyclist, and pedestrian must do everything possible to avoid a crash.

Stop Signs

You must yield the right-of-way to all other traffic and pedestrians at stop signs. You are allowed to move forward only when the road is clear. At four-way stops, the first vehicle to stop should move forward first. If two vehicles reach the intersection at the same time, the driver on the left yields to the driver on the right.

Open Intersections

An open intersection is defined as one without traffic control signs or signals. When you enter one, you must yield the right-of-way if a vehicle is already in the intersection. You must yield the right-of-way if you enter or cross a state highway from a secondary road. You must yield the right-of-way if you enter a paved road from an unpaved road. You must yield the right-of-way if you plan to make a left turn and a vehicle is approaching from the opposite direction.

Roundabouts

A roundabout is a type of intersection that is unfamiliar to many drivers, yet more and more communities in Florida are using them. Roundabouts improve traffic flow and reduce the likelihood of traffic crashes. Most roundabouts do not require stopping, allowing vehicles to move continuously through intersections at the same low speed. Roundabouts are designed to move all traffic through in a counterclockwise direction. Vehicles approaching the roundabout yield to the circulating traffic in the roundabout, however, you must obey all signs to determine the correct right-of-way in the roundabout.
6.4 Speed Laws and Right-of-Way

Emergency Vehicles

As a pedestrian or as a driver, you must yield the right-of-way to law enforcement cars, fire engines, and other emergency vehicles using sirens and/or flashing lights. Pull over to the closest edge of the roadway immediately and stop to allow the emergency vehicle to pass. Do not block intersections.

Move Over Law

When you are driving on an interstate highway or other highway with two or more lanes and are traveling in the same direction as an emergency vehicle is traveling; and, unless you are directed by a law enforcement officer and the law enforcement or other emergency vehicle is parked on the roadway with their emergency lights activated, you will be required to leave the lane closest to the emergency vehicle, as soon as it is safe to do so.

Take note that emergency vehicles include wreckers that are displaying their amber rotating flashing lights and performing a recovery or loading on a roadside.

If you are approaching a law enforcement or other authorized emergency vehicle parked on a two-lane roadway with their emergency lights activated, and unless you are directed by a law enforcement officer, you should slow to a speed that is 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit when the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or greater; or slow to five miles per hour when the posted speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less (FS 316.126).
6.4 Speed Laws and Right-of-Way

Other Right-of-Way Laws

School Buses

If you are on a two-way street or highway, and moving in either direction, you must stop for a stopped school bus which is picking up or dropping off children. You must remain stopped until all children are clear of the roadway and the bus stop signal has stopped. If the highway is divided by a raised barrier or an unpaved median at least five feet wide, you do not have to stop if you are moving in the opposite direction of the bus. Painted lines or pavement markings are not considered barriers. You must always stop if you are moving in the same direction as the bus and you must continue until the bus stop signal has stopped (FS 316.172).

Public Transit

You should yield the right-of-way to a public transit bus traveling in the same direction which has signaled and is re-entering the traffic flow from a specifically designated pullout area.

Funeral Processions

As a pedestrian and driver, you must yield the right-of-way to funeral processions. When the first vehicle in the funeral processions lawfully enters an intersection, the other vehicles in the procession must have their headlights on as a signal to you not to drive between or interfere with the procession while it is in motion unless you are directed to do so by a law enforcement officer.

Driveways

If you enter a road from a driveway, alley, or roadside, you must yield to vehicles already on the main road. You must yield to bicyclists and pedestrians on the sidewalk. |

6.4 Speed Laws and Right-of-Way

Pedestrians and Bicyclists

Safety Rules for Pedestrians

If you are a pedestrian, you should look to the left and the right before stepping off any curb. You should cross only at intersections or designated crosswalks.

Drivers are always more alert for pedestrians when they approach intersections. Always cross with the green light or "WALK" signal. Make sure you have enough time to cross. Although the motorist must yield, the motorist may not see you in time.

If you are walking along a highway, always walk on the shoulder on the left side, facing traffic. Try to wear light colored clothing or use a flashlight to make you more visible to drivers at night.

Bicyclists

If you ride a bicycle in Florida, your bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle. If you are riding using a public roadway, you are considered an operator of a motor vehicle and are responsible for observing traffic laws. With few exceptions, there is only one road and it is up to motorists and you to treat each other with care and respect. Adherence to the law is the foundation of respect.

Blind Persons

The primary traveling aids for people who are blind are often white canes or trained guide dogs. Independent travel for these people involves some risk that can be greatly reduced when you, the driver, are aware of the use and meaning of a white cane or guide dog.

You must always yield the right-of-way to persons who are blind. When you encounter a pedestrian crossing a street or highway guided by a dog or carrying a white cane, (or a white cane with a red tip), you must come to a complete stop.

Mobility-Impaired Persons

You must yield the right-of-way to mobility-impaired persons. When a pedestrian is crossing a public street or highway and the pedestrian is using a walker, a crutch, or an orthopedic cane or wheelchair, you must come to a complete stop. | |

6.4 Speed Laws and Right-of-Way

Review

No matter what the speed limit sign may say, determine the safe speed to travel based on several factors. Be careful since it may actually be illegal to drive at the posted speed limit if weather, visibility, traffic, and roadway surface conditions adversely affect the driving environment.

There are special speeds posted for different areas such as municipal areas, business or residential areas, and rural areas and interstates. You must observe and obey the posted speed signs. If you are cited for exceeding the speed limit by up to five mph in a legally posted school zone, you will be fined $50.00. Fines for speeding in a construction zone where workers are present or operating equipment is double that of regular speeding penalties (FS 318.18).

In Florida, the law only says who must yield (give up) the right-of-way. You must yield the right-of-way to all other traffic and pedestrians at stop signs.

At four-way stops, the first vehicle to stop should move forward first. If two vehicles reach the intersection at the same time, the driver on the left yields to the driver on the right. You must yield the right-of-way if you enter or cross a state highway from a secondary road. You must yield the right-of-way if you enter a paved road from an unpaved road.

Most roundabouts do not require stopping. They are designed to move all traffic through in a counterclockwise direction. Vehicles approaching the roundabout yield to the traffic in the roundabout.

As a pedestrian or as a driver, you must yield the right-of-way to law enforcement cars, fire engines, and other emergency vehicles using sirens and/or flashing lights. Pull over to the closest edge of the roadway immediately and stop to allow the emergency vehicle to pass. Do not block intersections. Emergency vehicles include wreckers that are displaying their amber rotating flashing lights and performing a recovery or loading on a roadside. If you are approaching a law enforcement or other authorized emergency vehicle parked on a two-lane roadway with their emergency lights activated, slow to a speed that is 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit when the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or greater; or slow to five miles per hour when the posted speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less (FS 316.126).

If you are on a two-way street or highway moving in either direction, you must stop for a stopped school bus which is picking up or dropping off children. If the highway is divided by a raised barrier or an unpaved median at least five feet wide, you do not have to stop if you are moving in the opposite direction of the bus.

Yield the right-of-way to public transit re-entering the traffic flow from a specifically designated pullout area.

As a pedestrian and driver, you must yield the right-of-way to funeral processions unless you are directed otherwise by a law enforcement officer. If you enter a road from a driveway, alley, or roadside, you must yield to vehicles already on the main road.

If you are a pedestrian, you should look to the left and the right before stepping off any curb, and cross only at intersections or designated crosswalks. Always cross with the green light or "WALK" signal. If you are walking along a highway, always walk on the shoulder on the left side, facing traffic.

In Florida, if you ride a bicycle on a public roadway, you are responsible for observing traffic laws. Remember, you must always yield the right-of-way to persons who are blind. You must also yield the right-of-way to mobility-impaired persons. |
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Bottom of Form 7.1 Parking and Passing

Parking and Passing

Introduction

Parking and passing require coordination of many different driving skills combined with a continuous searching process.

There are three types of parking maneuvers.
 Angled - when the parking space is at an angle or on a diagonal to the curb.
 Perpendicular - when the parking space is perpendicular to the curb, or at a 90-degree angle.
 Parallel - when the parking space is parallel to the curb or hugs the edge of the curb.
The decision to pass another vehicle requires good judgment. Often, passing really does not accomplish much. Decide if the pass is legal, possible, worth the risk, and if there is adequate space to pass.

Whenever you are passing or another vehicle is passing you, safety is particularly important to avoid collisions. |

7.1 Parking and Passing

Parking

Practice parking in all of the different types of parking spaces in a no-traffic environment before you attempt parking maneuvers with other vehicles present.

Before parking, make sure it is legal to park in the location you have selected.

Become familiar with where you are not allowed to park. You cannot park: * On the roadway side of another parked vehicle (double parking) * In crosswalks * On sidewalks * In front of driveways * By curbs painted yellow or where "No Parking" signs are posted * Within intersections * Within 15 feet of a fire hydrant * Within 20 feet of an intersection * Within 20 feet of the entrance to a fire, ambulance, or rescue squad station * Within 50 feet of a railroad crossing * On the hard surface of a highway where parking spaces are not marked * On any bridge or overpass or in any tunnel * Within 30 feet of a rural mailbox on a state highway between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. * Within 30 feet of any flashing signal, stop sign, or traffic signal * In a location where you block or create a hazard for other vehicles (FS 316.1945) Before selecting your parking space, make sure there is plenty of room to maneuver in and out. Try not to park next to large vehicles or vehicles that are too close to the white space markings.

Whenever possible, park where there are no vehicles on either side of your space until you are comfortable with parking maneuvers.

When you are parking on a public road, park as far away from traffic as you possibly can. If there is a roadside shoulder, pull as far onto it as you can. If there is a curb, pull close to it; do not park more than one foot away from the curb.

Always park on the right side of the roadway unless it is a one-way street.

While parking, conduct a continuous search and be aware of the entire driving environment that surrounds you. Conduct the maneuvers slowly. When properly parked, your vehicle should be centered inside the space with no part of the vehicle extending out into the traffic lane.

Always set your parking brake before exiting the parked vehicle. Set the parking brake and shift to park if you have an automatic transmission or reverse if your vehicle has a manual transmission. Turn off the engine, lock the vehicle, and exit with caution.

Florida law requires that you must take the keys out of your vehicle before leaving it. Always check the traffic behind you before getting out, or get out on the curb side.

Before you leave any parked position, look over your shoulder to the rear to make sure the way is clear. Make sure to give the proper turn signal when leaving a curb and yield to other traffic.

Angled Parking

Angled parking places are on a diagonal from the traffic flow. Angled parking is fairly easy.

Entering an Angled Parking Space |

When you approach an empty parking space, signal your intentions by activating your turn signal and brake lights. Position the side of your vehicle about five feet from the rear of the parked vehicles. When you can see down the side of the parking space line closest to your vehicle, turn your wheels and slowly enter the space. Continuously check your clearance on the left-front and the right-rear as you slowly enter the space. Keep track of your right rear bumper and be sure you have enough room to clear the vehicle on your right. While you are still moving, center your vehicle and straighten out the wheels.

Exiting an Angled Parking Space

Place your foot on the brake. Release the parking brake and shift gears to REVERSE. Position your body so you can see over your right shoulder while you continuously search for obstacles, pedestrians, and oncoming traffic. When the area behind you is clear and there is a large gap in the traffic lane behind you, slowly back up straight. As you back up, watch where you are going, keep your wheels straight, and continue searching to all sides. Be prepared to brake for traffic moving in your path.

When your vehicle has been backed completely out of the space, or when the front of your vehicle passes the rear bumper of the vehicle to the left, turn the steering wheel to the right and smoothly guide the rear of your vehicle into the traffic lane with your eyes to the rear.

Brake to a stop as you straighten your wheels. With your foot still on the brake, shift into DRIVE. Slowly accelerate to the speed of traffic and re-check traffic to the rear.

Always give the right-of-way to traffic that is already moving in the lane you are trying to enter. Watch for clues that other vehicles are also exiting their spaces.

Perpendicular Parking

Perpendicular parking spaces require turning at a 90-degree angle, so allow yourself plenty of room by waiting to turn until you can see all the way down the stall line.

Entering a Perpendicular Parking Space |

Signal your intention as you approach the space. Position your vehicle so you will have plenty of space to turn in. Approach the empty space between the side of your vehicle and the rear of the vehicles already parked. Enter the space slowly and steer your vehicle to the center of the space. Check the back and sides to be sure you are not about to hit the side of another vehicle.

Straighten your wheels and stop when the front of your vehicle is parallel with the front of other vehicles in the lot.

Exiting a Perpendicular Parking Space

Exit the perpendicular parking space using the same procedure as you use exiting an angled parking space.

Parallel Parking

Occasionally you will need to park in a parallel parking space. Many drivers dread this maneuver, but it becomes easy with practice. Many states require a demonstration of this procedure on the driving exam.

Locate a space large enough for this maneuver by identifying a space that is at least one and a half times the length of your vehicle. The space needs to be large enough for you to have a few feet in front and behind your vehicle. This is the space you will use to maneuver in and out of the parking space. Do not begin the maneuver until you are sure the space is large enough.

Entering a Parallel Parking Space |
Check traffic to the front and to the rear. Signal your intentions to park by tapping on the brakes and activating your right turn signal. Position the right side of your vehicle parallel to the parked vehicles on the right with about three feet of space between you and the parked vehicles. Stop beside the vehicle parked in front of the space you want to enter.

Back up and turn the steering wheel sharply to the right. Look to the rear. Never try to use your mirrors to see behind you when parallel parking.

Back up very slowly until the center door post of your vehicle is lined up with the back left corner of the vehicle on your right. Straighten your wheels and back slowly down until the right front corner of your vehicle is in line with the left rear corner of the vehicle on your right.

As you stop, turn your steering wheel to the left as far as it will go. Stop about two feet from the vehicle behind you. With your foot still on the brake, change gears into DRIVE. Slowly move forward until your vehicle has equal space between the vehicle in front of you and behind you.

Exiting a Parallel Parking Space

Place your foot on the brake, start the engine, signal your intentions, and shift to REVERSE. Check the traffic to the back and in the lane you are about to enter. Check your blind spot. Back slowly until you are within inches of the vehicle behind you.

With your foot still on the brake, place your vehicle into DRIVE. Turn the steering wheel sharply toward the lane you are entering. Slowly release the brake and move forward into the lane. When the front bumper of your vehicle clears the rear of the vehicle occupying the parking space in front of you, straighten your wheels and continue moving forward slowly. Turn your steering wheel gradually in the direction of your path of travel.

Parking on Hills

If you are forced to park on a hill: * Turn your wheels so that if your car starts to move by itself, it will roll away from traffic or into the curb (wheels turned into curb). * Set the parking brake. * If you are driving with an automatic transmission, shift into park. If you are driving with a standard transmission, shift into reverse (facing downhill) or first gear (facing uphill).
Parking Lights

Your parking lights must be used at night on any vehicle parked on a roadway or shoulder outside of cities and towns. If you drive with parking lights only (in place of headlights) you are breaking the law. |
7.1 Parking and Passing

Disabled Parking

Parking Privileges for the Disabled

If you are disabled, you do not have to pay parking fees on any public street, highway, or metered space. Your vehicle must display a valid parking placard which is visible from the front and rear of the vehicle. Each side of the placard must have the international symbol of accessibility in a contrasting color in the center. These placards may be obtained from a tag agent or tax collector's office and must be renewed every four years.

Disabled persons must park in spaces reserved for the disabled whenever possible. These spaces are marked by the wheelchair symbol and "Parking by Disabled Permit Only" signs. Vehicles illegally parked in spaces reserved for the handicapped will be ticketed and may be towed.

To prove you are eligible for a placard you are required to have a Proof of Eligibility in the form of a statement from a physician licensed in the United States, the Division of Blind Services of the Department of Education, or the Veterans Administration. You must be severely physically disabled with permanent mobility problems which substantially impair your ability to move or you are certified as legally blind.

The correct procedure that you must follow includes contacting your local county tax collector or tag agent. You must complete Highway Safety Motor Vehicle form number 83039 which is the Application for a disabled person’s parking permit. You must provide proof of eligibility, the Doctor’s Statement, and pay $15.00 for a temporary disabled person parking permit. You must also present a valid Florida driver license or identification card (FS 316.955). |

7.1 Parking and Passing

Passing Laws

Passing and Being Passed

Proper passing involves the use of good judgment, courtesy, and the ability to make rapid decisions. When you are passing or being passed, remember to plan an escape route in case you need to avoid a collision. Before entering a passing lane, be sure to check for good road traction to ensure that you will not lose control of your vehicle during the passing maneuver. Remain alert and maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the other vehicles on the road.

Because of the high speeds of travel on freeways and interstates, be extra careful when passing. Stay to the right unless you are passing another vehicle or preparing to make a turn. Passing involves the use of your signals, mirrors, and physically turning your head to check your blind spots. If multiple lane changes are needed, they must be done individually, going through the same procedures for each lane change.

When traveling on a two-lane roadway, remain on the right side of the roadway unless you are passing. Then, pass only when you have enough room to return to the right side of the roadway and when your field of vision is clear.

Passing is Prohibited

Passing is illegal when sight restrictions such as hills or curves make passing unsafe. If it is unsafe to pass on a section of highway, it will be marked as a no-passing zone by signs or markings on the roadway.

Before beginning a passing maneuver on a highway with opposing traffic, you must be sure you have proper clearance. The law states that you must be able to return to your proper lane of travel before any approaching vehicle comes within 200 feet.

Remember, the law in Florida states that passing is prohibited when the view is obstructed or when approaching within 100 feet of any bridge, viaduct, or tunnel - or when approaching within 100 feet of or traversing any railroad grade crossing (FS 316.087).

The pattern of yellow lines on the roadway determines whether passing is permitted. For example, two solid yellow lines on the roadway mean that passing is prohibited. A combination of a solid yellow and a broken yellow line means that you can pass only on the side that has the broken yellow line. If a single broken yellow line is present, either lane of traffic may pass when it is safe to do so. |

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7.1 Parking and Passing

Safe Passing

Often, passing does not accomplish very much. It simply places you one vehicle ahead of where you originally were, and the time you save is negligible. Before passing, ask yourself the following questions: * Is the pass legal? * Is the pass possible? * Is the pass worth the risk? * Do I have sufficient space to pass? Then, if you decide the maneuver is still a safe decision, follow these steps to successfully pass: 1. Check ahead for a clear, safe passing space. This is critical. Keep in mind the time element necessary to accomplish a safe pass. Florida laws require that you be able to get back to your authorized lane of travel before coming within 200 feet of oncoming traffic. If you are going 55 mph, you will need over 1600 feet to safely pass another vehicle. 2. Make sure to look for hazards such as oncoming vehicles, pedestrians, vehicles approaching from the rear, or merging vehicles. 3. Check your blind spots by turning your head to make sure no vehicles are in your blind spots. Also check your rear-view and side-view mirrors for vehicles behind you or to your side. 4. Communicate your intent to pass by signaling other drivers or, if necessary, by flashing your headlights or tapping your horn. 5. Only pass if you can do it without exceeding the speed limit. Don’t linger in the other vehicle’s blind spots. 6. Re-check conditions ahead and create a return space for your vehicle, making sure you can see the vehicle you just passed and you are allowing enough clearance. 7. Signal your return into the lane, check your blind spots, and resume normal driving. |
7.1 Parking and Passing

Safety When Being Passed

If another vehicle is trying to pass your vehicle, reduce your speed to allow the passing vehicle to complete the maneuver safely.

Florida law prohibits you from increasing your speed until the vehicle that is passing you has completed the passing maneuver.

It is also a good idea to position your vehicle in the far side of your lane, allowing the vehicle that is passing you greater visibility.

Finally, tap your brakes as a warning to vehicles behind you if you see a hazard ahead. 7.1 Parking and Passing

Review

In this module you learned the proper procedures to be used when parking and passing.

If you are parking on a public road, park as far away from the traffic as you possibly can and always park on the right side of the roadway, unless you are on a one-way street. Remember, Florida law requires that you must take the keys out of your vehicle before leaving it. If you are forced to park on a hill, turn your wheels into the curb. When parking straight-in, your vehicle should be centered inside the space with no part of the vehicle extending out into the traffic lane.

You must use your parking lights at night if you are parked on a roadway or shoulder outside of cities and towns.

If you are disabled, you do not have to pay parking fees on any public street, highway, or metered space. Your vehicle must display a valid parking placard which is visible from the front and rear of the vehicle. Disabled persons must park in spaces reserved for the disabled whenever possible. To prove you are eligible for a placard, you are required to have a Proof of Eligibility Statement from a physician licensed in the United States. There are specific procedures that should be followed to acquire a placard.

Proper passing involves the use of good judgment, courtesy, and the ability to make rapid decisions and always have an escape route in mind. Remain alert and maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the other vehicles on the road. When you are passing, use your signals, mirrors, and physically turn your head to check blind spots. When traveling on a two-lane roadway, remain on the right side of the roadway unless you are passing. If it is unsafe to pass on a section of highway, it will be marked as a no-passing zone by signs or markings on the roadway. You must be able to return to your proper lane of travel before any approaching vehicle comes within 200 feet. Also, passing is prohibited when the view is obstructed or when approaching within 100 feet of any bridge, viaduct, or tunnel. The pattern of yellow lines on the roadway determines whether passing is permitted.

In most cases passing does not accomplish very much. It simply moves you one vehicle ahead of where you originally were, and the time you save is negligible. Before passing, make sure and ask yourself: * Is the pass legal? * Is the pass possible? * Is the pass worth the risk? * Do I have sufficient space to pass? Then, if you decide the maneuver is still a safe decision, follow the seven steps that were presented in this topic to successfully pass.

If another vehicle is trying to pass your vehicle, reduce your speed and allow the passing vehicle to complete the maneuver safely. Florida law prohibits you from increasing your speed until the vehicle that is passing you has completed the passing maneuver. | |

7.2 Emergencies and Post-collision Management

Emergencies and Post-Collision Management

Introduction

Roadside emergencies and collisions happen suddenly. Emergency situations require quick thinking and a fast response, especially when you are driving.

Unexpected obstacles in the road can change your driving environment in a split second. Sometimes you can see the hazard coming. Either way, you need to be prepared to react and know what to do before it happens.

If you are involved in a collision, the law requires you to follow certain procedures.

If you experience a system failure or driving emergency, there are special driving techniques known as emergency maneuvers that are effective in improving the outcome of the hazardous situation. |
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Bottom of Form 7.2 Emergencies and Post-collision Management

Emergencies

Tire Failure or Blowout

If a tire fails or you have a blowout, do not use the brakes. Concentrate your attention on steering the vehicle. Slow down gradually. Brake slowly and softly when the car is fully under control. Make sure to pull the vehicle completely off the pavement.

Wet Brakes

In Florida, our heavy rain results in puddles or deep water forming quickly on the roads. Sometimes you may be forced to drive through deep water. As soon as you are done traveling through the water, lightly test your brakes. If your brakes are wet, they may pull to one side or may not hold at all. To dry the brakes, drive slowly in low gear and apply light pressure on your brake pedal.

Jammed Gas Pedal

If your gas pedal jams, keep your eyes on the road. Begin to tap on the gas pedal with your foot. If that doesn’t work, try to pry the pedal up with the toe of your shoe. Shift the vehicle’s transmission into neutral and turn off the ignition. Do not turn the key to lock or your steering wheel will lock. Apply your brakes and bring the vehicle to a stop.

Brake Failure

If your brakes fail, pump the brake pedal hard and fast, unless your vehicle is equipped with anti-lock brakes (ABS). Shift into a lower gear. Apply the parking brake slowly and make sure that you are holding down the release lever or button. This will prevent your rear wheels from locking and your vehicle from skidding. Rub your tires up against the curb to slow your vehicle, or pull off the road into an open space.

Fire

If you have a small fire in your vehicle and you have a portable extinguisher, you should attempt to extinguish the fire. If you cannot put the fire out and it continues to get larger, get away from the vehicle. There is the chance of encountering toxic fumes and the possibility of an explosion. Do not try to put out a gasoline or diesel fire with water.

Engine Failure

If you lose engine power or control and cannot get completely off the road, turn on your emergency flashers. Stop where people can see you and your vehicle from all directions - especially from behind. Exit the vehicle if you are in danger of being struck by moving traffic. Call for roadside assistance. Set out warning triangles or flares only if it is safe to do so. Then wait in a safe location for assistance.

When Another Vehicle Approaches You Head-on

If another car or a motorcycle is approaching you in your lane head-on, immediately blow your horn. Apply your brakes sharply. Turn the vehicle toward the side of the road or toward a ditch if there is one.
7.2 Emergencies and Post-collision Management

Skid Recovery

Most drivers feel helpless during a skid because you lose traction and control of the vehicle's direction. Most skids are caused by drivers traveling too fast for conditions.

Excessive speed and wet, snowy, icy, or sandy road conditions combined with abrupt braking, steering, or acceleration can cause a skid. When you drive on reduced traction surfaces and try to change speed or direction too quickly, or try to change speed and direction at the same time, you greatly increase the risk of skidding.

Early detection is key to safe skid recovery. Early skid detection includes recognizing the cause. Skids are caused by hard braking, abrupt acceleration, or traveling too fast. Even for experienced drivers, skids can be frightening and dangerous. When road conditions change and traction is reduced, your tires could lose their grip on the road's surface, causing a skid and loss of vehicle control.

Follow these basic steps to regain control when you are in a skid: * Do not use your brakes, if at all possible. * Pump the brakes gently if you are about to hit something. * Steer the car into the direction of the skid to straighten the vehicle out. Then steer in the direction you wish to go.
Most skids are caused by driver error, although only about 15% of collisions are the direct result of a vehicle skidding. Most crashes happen because drivers take no action, the wrong action, or last-minute actions. Do not be one of those drivers. Recognize the conditions of the road. If they are wet, icy, or the pavement is loose or covered with leaves or oil, understand you are in a low traction environment. To avoid skidding, travel slow enough so your tires can grip the road and maintain your vehicle traction. 7.2 Emergencies and Post-collision Management

Off-Road Recovery

If your right wheels leave the pavement, getting safely back on the road is a manageable situation. * Do not panic - take your foot off the gas pedal. * Hold the wheel firmly and steer in a straight line. * Brake lightly. * Wait until the road is clear. * Turn back onto the pavement sharply at a slow speed. Note that the height difference between the paved road and the shoulder may affect the stability of your vehicle. Avoid panic braking or acceleration which could cause your vehicle to skid. And finally, if you turn the steering wheel too sharply, your vehicle may skid, roll over, or head directly across the roadway into oncoming traffic. |
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Bottom of Form 7.2 Emergencies and Post-collision Management

Roadside Breakdowns

In the event of a roadside breakdown, it is important to remain calm and attempt to prevent further risk of damage or injury to yourself or others by moving the vehicle out of the roadway.

If you are having car trouble, and need to stop, but are still able to drive slowly: * Turn on your emergency flashers. * Maneuver to the right lane and locate a wide shoulder where there is clear visibility from behind and if possible, all other directions. If possible, park so that your vehicle can be seen for 200 feet in each direction. * Use the shoulder to drive to the nearest exit or other location where it is safe to park. If you cannot make it to an exit, park as far from the travel lane as possible. Park the vehicle, making sure that all four wheels are off the pavement. * If you park in tall, dry grass on the roadside, watch for potential fire that could be caused by heat from your exhaust system. * If you are unable to get safely to the right side of the road, park on the left in a clearly visible area. * Get all passengers out on the side of the vehicle that is away from traffic. * Tie a white cloth on the left door handle or antenna. * Raise the vehicle’s hood. * Call for roadside assistance and wait for help in a safe place. This may be outside the vehicle and away from traffic. If your vehicle is in a safe location, clear of traffic: * Lock the doors and wait for your roadside service provider. * Do not open your doors to strangers that want to assist you. Have them call for help if you have not already done so. |
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7.2 Emergencies and Post-collision Management

The Scene of a Collision

Approaching an Emergency Scene

If you see warning triangles, flares, a vehicle's hazard lights, or emergency vehicles ahead, slow down. You may be approaching the scene of a collision. Warn drivers behind you by turning on your emergency flashers or tapping your brake pedal quickly three or four times.

Avoid driving near collisions. If possible, watch for pedestrians and do not slow down more than necessary. DO NOT stop just to look; this common curiosity causes other collisions and interrupts traffic flow.

Because of the high speed, erratic maneuvers, and hazards present, the space around dispatched emergency vehicles is very high-risk for all nearby drivers. It is against the law to follow closely behind any fire engine, police car, ambulance, or other emergency vehicle with a siren or flashing lights.

If you are the only one on the scene, call 911. DO NOT move any victim unless they are in immediate danger of sustaining life threatening injury.

Post-Collision Management

If you are involved in a collision, no matter how minor, there are procedures you are required to follow by law.

If you are involved in a collision, you must stop. If you don’t stop, you could be convicted of a “hit-and-run” and have your license revoked. If there are victims at the scene, they could be injured and need your help. If you leave the scene without helping them, it could result in further injury or death for those victims.

After you are involved in a collision: * Remain calm. * Turn on your emergency flashers. * Do not leave the scene unless a medical emergency requires you to do so. * Call 911 and request police or medical assistance. Be prepared to tell the 911 operator your specific location and the condition of the individuals involved. * If the vehicles are still operational, move the vehicles out of traffic, as far off the roadside as possible. NOTE: If injuries and other circumstances are involved, some police departments require you to leave the vehicles at the location where the collision occurred until investigators are able to arrive on the scene. Other jurisdictions require you to move the vehicle out of traffic. Check your local laws for the proper crash procedure. * Turn off the ignition switches in each damaged vehicle. * Stay away from traffic. * Never cross an expressway on foot. * Assess the situation and communicate danger to others. * If your vehicle is in a safe location and is clearly visible to oncoming traffic, communicate your situation to other road users. Set out flares and warning triangles. If there is property damage as a result of the collision, and you are unable to locate the owner, leave a note with your name and address. Report the collision immediately to the city police, or, if you are in an unincorporated area, call 911 or report the collision to the nearest law enforcement authorities. * Give a collision report to the police. * Present your license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance to the police. Be aware of your personal safety and protection if approached by the other driver or any passengers. Request identification and exchange information. * Obtain names and addresses of witnesses. * Notify your insurance carrier. * If you are injured, see a doctor. |
7.2 Emergencies and Post-collision Management

Review

If you suffer a blowout while you are driving, concentrate all your attention on steering the vehicle. Brake when the car is fully under control and pull off the pavement.

If your brakes are wet, dry the brakes by driving slowly in low gear and apply pressure to the brake pedal.

If your gas pedal jams, keep your eyes on the road. Tap on the gas pedal or try to pry the pedal up with the toe of your shoe. Shift into neutral and turn off the ignition, then apply your brakes and bring the vehicle to a stop.

If your brakes fail, pump the brake pedal, shift into a lower gear, and use the parking brake slowly. If there is a curb, steer the vehicle so your tires rub up against the curb. If there is no curb, locate a clear area or field to coast to a stop.

If you have a small fire in your vehicle and you have a portable extinguisher, try to put the fire out. If you can’t put the fire out, get away from the vehicle. Do not try to put out a gasoline or diesel fire with water.

If another car or a motorcycle is approaching you in your lane head-on, immediately blow your horn, brake, and head for the shoulder.

If your vehicle begins to skid, take your foot off the gas pedal, steer the car into the direction of the skid, then steer in the direction you wish to go.

If your vehicle leaves the pavement for any reason, remember to take your foot off the gas pedal, hold the wheel firmly, and steer in a straight line. Then lightly apply the brakes. When the road is clear, sharply and slowly turn the car back onto the pavement. Your goal is to maintain control and therefore avoid skidding, rollover, and heading into oncoming traffic.

If your vehicle breaks down on the road, park so that your vehicle can be seen for 200 feet in each direction, That’s a distance equal in length to about three quarters of a football field. Park with all four wheels off the pavement, turn on the flashers and get all passengers out, away from traffic. If it is safe, display a white cloth and raise the hood. It is important to remain calm and to attempt to prevent further risk of damage and or injury by distancing yourself from traffic. If it is safe to remain in the vehicle, lock the doors. Do not open the doors to strangers who want to assist you. Ask them to call for help if you have not done so.

If you come upon an emergency scene, slow down. Warn other drivers behind you by tapping the brake pedal quickly three or four times. Do not follow emergency vehicles closely. If you are the only one on the scene, call 911.

If you are involved in a collision, you must stop. If you don’t stop, you could be convicted of a “hit-and-run” and have your license revoked. Remain calm. Turn on your flashers. Call 911 to request police or medical assistance.

If there is property damage as a result of the collision and you are unable to locate the owner, leave a note with your name and address.
7.3 Motorcycle Issues

Motorcycle Issues

Introduction

Since 1999, we have seen an increase in the number of motorcyclists killed and injured in Florida. |

In 2009, 502 motorcyclists died in Florida - up from 388 riders killed in 2004. That’s as many as two or three plane loads of dead motorcyclists every year - in our state alone (3)!

In 2009, 8,519 motorcyclists were injured (3). What’s the enrollment in your high school? Are there as many as 8,519 people? Probably not. Imagine an entire high school full of people with brain injuries, in wheelchairs, without arms, or worse. This gives you an idea of how many injuries are related to riding motorcycles each year in Florida, and keep in mind, those injuries are usually severe.

Motorcyclists have virtually no protection from injury in a crash. The size of a motorcycle is no match when involved in a collision with a larger object or vehicle. Helmets and safety gear play an important role in lowering risk, but in high-impact crashes they simply cannot prevent the loss of life or injury.

Motorcyclists in Florida have specific responsibilities and a basic motorcycle safety education course is required for all new motorcycle riders (FS 322.0255).

Motorcycles are small and difficult to see. They are also able to accelerate quickly and travel fast speeds. When you are driving a larger vehicle and you find yourself sharing the road with one or more motorcyclists, drive defensively and expect quick maneuvers. It is important to remember how vulnerable the rider is to injury and how it is always your responsibility as a driver to avoid causing a collision if at all possible. Keep your distance, never cut them off, even if they are driving recklessly, and do not make quick lane changes. 7.3 Motorcycle Issues

Sharing the Road With Motorcycles

Motorcycles have two or three wheels, a seat for the rider, and at least a 15 horse-powered engine.

Motorcycles can accelerate very quickly and can make extremely quick maneuvers. Because they are small, motorcycles can be difficult to see as they approach you head-on or from the side.

Motorcycles are very popular in Florida. It is probable that each time you drive you may encounter one or more motorcyclists on the roadway. When sharing the road with a motorcycle, you need to know they are there. Scan for motorcycles at all times, especially before changing lanes, turning, or passing.

It is the law that motorcycles must always be operated with the headlight on - even during the day. Motorcycles can overtake you quickly from behind. Scan your mirrors for the presence of an approaching motorcycle by looking for the single headlight. Often, you might not see a motorcycle but you will hear it.

Motorcycles are small, and consequently, even if you see one, it is difficult to judge the speed it is traveling. Before changing lanes or maneuvering your vehicle, judge the speed of the motorcycle carefully - be sure your vehicle and the motorcycle are not about to merge in the same space.

Motorcycles have small mirrors or sometimes have no mirrors. If you are behind or to the side, do not assume the driver of the motorcycle sees you.

Motorcycles take up a small amount of space in the lane, but they need every bit of that space in case they need to make a fast, evasive maneuver. Anticipate sudden movements, swerving, and quick lane changes without signals.

Give the motorcyclist plenty of space and increase that space when the condition of the road is rough, irregular, or slippery as the result of inclement weather.

Keep in mind motorcyclists do not have windshield wipers on their glasses or helmet visor. When it is raining, they will likely be unable to see anything clearly, so give riders a big margin of space on the road, and recognize that they are operating with severely impaired visibility.

When being passed by a motorcycle, maintain your lane position and prepare to adjust your speed to let them in. If you see a motorcycle rapidly overtaking you from the rear, maintain your lane position until it passes. If a motorcycle is traveling at an excessive speed and endangering the lives of others, note the license plate number. When it is safe to do so, pull off the road and call 911 or the State Highway Patrol to report the vehicle description, the direction it was headed, and the location you noted the infraction. |
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7.3 Motorcycle Issues

Motorcycle Education Course

In Florida, if you are applying for a motorcycle license for the first time, you will be required to complete a 15-hour state-approved motorcycle education course (FS 322.0255, FS 322.57).

You must have the proof that you successfully completed the course and be ready to show it to the driver license examining office before receiving your license.

In order to enroll in a Basic Rider Course you must have at least a Learner's Driver License. You must also have a basic knowledge of traffic laws, road signs, and general rules-of-the-road. |
7.3 Motorcycle Issues

Operator Responsibilities

Financial Responsibility

Unlike four-wheel motor vehicles, under certain circumstances, insurance is not required to register motorcycles.

However, if you are driving a motorcycle and you are charged in a crash with injuries, then you are financially responsible for any bodily injuries and property damage to others. If you do not have coverage, then you must purchase bodily injury/property damage liability insurance and keep it for three years to avoid license and tag/registration suspension or to reinstate license and tag/registration after suspension.

If you plan to carry passengers, it is a good idea to ask your insurance carrier about the need for carrying passenger insurance coverage.

Motorcycle Endorsement Requirements

To be issued a motorcycle license, you must have at least a regular Class E operator's driver license.

You must show proof of the completion of a Basic Rider Course to the driver license office or tax collector office that issues driver licenses.
7.3 Motorcycle Issues

Operator Restrictions

In the State of Florida, the law stipulates that if you are under 16 years of age, you may not legally operate or be licensed to operate any of the following two or three wheel motor vehicles on Florida roads, streets or highways: * Motorcycles * Mopeds * Motor-Driven Cycles * Motorized Scooters * Electric helper-motor bicycles
If you have a Florida Learner's Driver License, you cannot legally operate or be licensed to operate any two or three wheel motor vehicles on Florida roads, streets or highways regardless of your age or the engine displacement of the vehicle (FS 322.1615). 7.3 Motorcycle Issues

Safety Equipment

Helmet

Helmets are required for the driver and passenger if the driver is under the age of 21. If you are a rider and over the age of 21, you are eligible for an exemption if you can show proof that you are covered by an insurance policy that provides at least $10,000 in medical benefits (FS 316.211).

Eyewear

All riders must wear protective eyewear (FS 316.211).

Clothing

Proper clothing must be worn, including a jacket and pants that cover arms and legs completely. They should fit snugly enough to keep from flapping in the wind, yet loosely enough to move freely. Leather offers the best protection. Sturdy synthetic material provides a lot of protection as well. Jackets should be worn even in warm weather to prevent dehydration. Many jackets are designed to protect you without getting you overheated, even on summer days.

Footwear

Boots or shoes should be high and sturdy enough to cover your ankles and give them support. The soles should be made of hard, durable, slip resistant material. You should keep the heels short so they do not catch on rough surfaces. Laces should be tucked in to prevent them from being caught on or in the many moving parts of the motorcycle.

Gloves

Gloves provide a better grip and help protect the hands in a crash. Your gloves should be made of leather or a similar durable material.

Rain Gear

Riders should also have good-quality rain gear - especially during the rainy months in Florida. Rain suits designed for motorcycle riding resist tearing apart or ballooning up at high speeds. They are available at various dealers. |
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Review
Motorcycles can accelerate very quickly and can make extremely quick maneuvers. Because they are small, motorcycles can be difficult to see as they approach you head-on or from the side.

When sharing the road with a motorcycle, you need to know they are there. Motorcycles can overtake you quickly from behind. Scan for motorcycles at all times, especially before changing lanes, turning, or passing. Scan your mirrors for the presence of an approaching motorcycle by looking for the single headlight.

When being passed by a motorcycle, maintain your lane position and prepare to adjust your speed to let them in. If you see a motorcycle rapidly overtaking you from the rear, maintain your lane position until it passes.

If you are applying for a motorcycle license for the first time, you will be required to complete a 15-hour state-approved motorcycle education course. You must have at least a Learner's Driver License to enroll in a Basic Rider Course.

Under certain circumstances, insurance is not required to register motorcycles. If you are charged in a crash with injuries, then you are financially responsible for any bodily injuries and property damage to others. To be issued a motorcycle license, you must have at least a regular Class E operator's driver license.

The State of Florida stipulates that if you are under 16 years of age, you may not legally operate or be licensed to operate particular two or three wheel motor vehicles on Florida roads.

Helmets are required for anyone (driver or passenger) under the age of 21. If you are a rider and you are over the age of 21, you are eligible for a helmet exemption. All riders must wear protective eyewear and proper clothing. Leather jackets and pants offer the best protection. Boots or shoes should be high and sturdy enough to cover your ankles and give them support. Gloves give you a better grip and help to protect your hands in a crash. You should also have good quality rain gear.

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