Tag Archives: Pensacola Auto Collision Lawyer

If Your Car Is Stolen And In A Wreck Are You Liable?

Your Car Is Stolen And In A Wreck Are You Liable?Under Florida law, the owner of a vehicle is responsible for injuries caused by the negligent operation of the vehicle. This is called “vicarious” or imputed liability and had long been the law in Florida.

Florida’s Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine

If you allow someone to use your car, and they negligently cause a crash with injuries, then you are equally responsible for the damages. Your insurance company will cover you for damages, as will the insurance company for the driver. This law makes sure that innocent injured parties are compensated for such negligence. An automobile is considered under this dangerous instrumentality doctrine, as are motorcycles, construction equipment, and other motorized vehicles.

Watch Our YouTube Video on Dangerous Instrumentality Here >

Exceptions To The Rule:

There are exceptions to this rule. If a person takes your vehicle without your consent, whether or not a criminal theft, and is involved in a crash, then you may not be liable. There is much litigation over the issue of consent.

Example 1 – If you lend your vehicle to a person for a day, and they are late returning it, you may still be liable for the injuries. There are cases where a person tells a friend or relative not to take their car, and that person gets in a crash.

Example 2 – If you left the keys available for them, or had previously allowed them to use the vehicle, then there may be implied consent that makes you liable. In one case, a person left his keys readily available on a kitchen counter during a house party. When a person took the keys and got in a wreck, the court found the owner liable for failing to properly secure the keys of the “dangerous instrumentality”. Similarly, leaving your keys available to non-driving family members may impose liability. Also, under Florida law, if you leave your keys in the ignition of an unlocked vehicle, you may be liable for all damages caused to the vehicle.

Theft of Vehicle – Case Study

There are even exceptions for a true theft of a vehicle. Zarzaur Law recently litigated a case where a vehicle was stolen from a small car dealer under mysterious circumstances and was involved in a crash that injured our client. We were able to prove that the dealer did not properly secure the vehicles, had inadequate security in a high crime area, and waited many days to report the vehicle stolen. The thief also had the keys at the time of the wreck, and the dealer was unable to explain how he came in possession of the keys. By proving these unusual facts, we were able to overcome the defenses of the car dealer and obtain compensation for our injured client.

It should be noted that the law in Florida generally turns on the specific factual circumstances of the case. The law of vicarious liability is also different in our adjoining states. In many states, the owner is liable if not driving the car, and there may be no insurance coverage for compensation. As you can see, these issues are very complex.

Who To Contact

As soon as you have realized that your vehicle was stolen, inform the following:

Call the police. Inform the police of the make, model, year of your vehicle, and your license plate number. Let the police know the date, location, and time when you last saw the vehicle.

Call your insurance company. Once you give the police your report, it is time to call the insurance company to explain what has happened.

Call An Attorney. Next, you should call a board-certified accident lawyer for help in preparing a case.

If you are injured by the negligence of a driver who is not the owner, or by a driver who is a thief, then you need to consult with an experienced Florida lawyer for competent advice.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you’ve been the victim of an accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Documenting the Scene After an Accident: Why It’s Important.

After a car accident, it is natural to just want to exchange information with the other driver, however, it is most important to document the event at that moment in order to not lose valuable information. Digital technology makes it even easier to document the scene. It’s probably the last thing you are thinking about right after an auto accident. However, it is important to document the car, the damage to the car, video of the area and what you may not think about is documenting your injury and the progression of the injury. Clinicians are also using cell phones to document as well.

 

Calling the authorities is necessary as well as If anyone is injured as a result of the car accident, seeking medical attention immediately.

Documenting your injuries also goes a long way in communicating to anyone that is helping take care of you and your injuries. Then the care team can then provide best care for you and be able to track wounds and refer to during the process. 

Documentation of the accident or injury is also important in presentation for your potential personal injury claim with a firm like ours. Having photographic evidence of the damage done to the vehicles, weather conditions, injuries received, and possible causes such as road conditions, broken streetlights, or low visibility will ensure that the insurance companies come up with a fair settlement.

Be sure to take pictures from several different angles and distances so every detail can be seen easily. No detail is too small or insignificant when providing details. 

At the Scene: Documenting the Accident

If you have a smart phone or camera, take photos to document the scene if it is safe to do so. Include pictures of:

  • License plates of involved vehicles.
  • Damage to your vehicle.
  • Damage to other vehicles.
  • Damage to property other than vehicles.
  • Objects at the scene, including accident debris, skid marks, fallen branches, etc.
  • Street signs or other landmarks to identify the accident location.
  • Any contributing factors to the accident, such as obscured traffic signs.

If you have an accident report form, fill in as many details as possible at the scene. If not, write down:

  • Time and date.
  • Weather and traffic conditions.
  • Description of the accident.
  • Description of injuries and damage.
  • Details of police or emergency involvement. 
  • Injuries to yourself and any passengers 

As one of the leading personal injury lawyers in Pensacola, Florida, Joe Zarzaur has dedicated his life to helping car wreck victims protect their rights. One major way that Personal Injury Law Firm, Zarzaur Law achieves this mission is by fighting extremely hard for the clients he represents. But a second and equally important component of Zarzaur Law Firm’s work is providing the community with the resources they need to keep themselves protected.

If you’ve been the victim of a car wreck, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Instead, follow the link to the car wreck checklist and put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve.

SOURCES:
http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/auto-accident/evidence-car-accident-case.html

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/checklist-of-records-to-gather-after-a-car-accident.html

https://www.dmv.org/accident-guide/car-accident-faq.php

Car Wreck Checklist

RECALL: Kidde Nighthawk Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Pensacola Product Liability LawyerPensacola Product Liability: Recall Alert

The Kidde NightHawk combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarms are being recalled because the alarm can fail to continue to chirp when it reaches its seven-year end of life if the batteries are replaced, leading consumers to believe it is still working, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The company is recalling 3.6 million Kidde NightHawk talking combo smoke/CO alarms in the U.S. and another 1.5 million in Canada. Alarms with the model number KN-COSM-IB and manufacture dates between June 1, 2004 and Dec. 31, 2010 come under the recall.

The alarms are hard-wired into a home’s electric power. The unit has a compartment on the back for the installation of a replaceable 9V backup battery.

The alarm is white, round and measures about 5 to 6 inches in diameter. “Kidde” is engraved on the front of the alarm. “Kidde,” the model number and manufacture dates are printed on a label on the back on the alarm.

The alarms were sold at electrical distributors and home centers nationwide and online on Amazon.com from June 2004 through December 2010 for between $40 and $65.

Kidde has received eight reports of incidents with the recalled alarms. No injuries have been reported.

Who is responsible for smoke detector failure?

Pensacola Product Liability LawyerSmoke detectors are invaluable in saving lives. It is estimated that three-fifths of all deaths from home fires occurred in homes without smoke detectors. But what happens when a smoke detector fails to alert residents of the presence of smoke? Who is responsible for smoke detector failure?

 

To prove a Pensacola product liability claim against a smoke detector manufacturer, the plaintiff is required to show:

  • That The Smoke Detector Was A Defective Product;
  • That The Defective Product Created An Unreasonably Dangerous Risk That Was Not Outweighed By The Benefits Of The Product;
  • And That The Defective Nature Of The Product Was The Cause Of The Plaintiff’s Injuries Or Damages.

The actions of the plaintiffs in maintaining the smoke detectors and in responding to the alarms can provide a defense for smoke detector manufacturers in Pensacola product liability actions.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled alarms and call Kidde directly at 855-239-0490 for a free replacement alarm, or a discount on a new alarm. Kidde toll-free at 855-239-0490 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or online at www.kidde.com and click on “Product Safety Notice” for more information.

Securing Compensation for Victims of Defective Products

Zarzaur Law acts promptly in defective product cases to maximize the chance of fair recovery for our clients’ Pensacola product liability claims. We first secure the product itself for examination by experts. We consult with the most qualified engineers, mechanics, and other experts to research the design and manufacturing process. Our Pensacola product liability lawyers also investigate any history of similar defective product claims against the company and the manufacturers’ response to concerns about product safety.

We invest a lot of time and money in defective product cases to ensure that our clients get full compensation from manufacturers of unsafe products.

For more information, visit our Pensacola product liability page.

October Recap: Zarzaur Law Firm

October Happenings at Pensacola Auto Accident Attorney, Zarzaur Law Firm

October was an exciting month at Pensacola Car Accident Lawyer, Joe Zarzaur’s Law firm, Zarzaur Law, P.A.  – Along with the resurrection of Gallery Night, Zarzaur Law sponsored several local races, participated in Downtown Pensacola’s annual Trick or Treat event and even had to deal with the aftermath of a fire!

Gallery Night October 2017

At Zarzaur Law, a Pensacola Auto Accident Attorney, October’s Downtown Pensacola Gallery Night Kicked off early. “Legal Graffiti” is an event hosted at the Zarzaur Law offices during each and every Gallery Night in downtown Pensacola. The event raised money for two non-profits this time around, FavorHouse and The American Cancer Society, Pensacola.

 

Run Pensacola

Pensacola Car Accident LawyerPensacola Car Accident Law Firm, Zarzaur Law, P.A. Sponsored two Run Pensacola events in October – the Bridge to Bridge 5k and the Pensacola Perfect 10. Don’t forget to sign up for the end of the year runs: The Pensacola Turkey Trot, the Ho Ho Hustle & The Holiday Half, all put on by Run Pensacola!

 

October Feature in the Business Climate

Pensacola Auto Accident AttorneyJoe and his office/residence were featured in the 12th annual Downtown issue of Business Climate.  Zarzaur’s current residence is a building constructed in the 1800’s – chalk full of history and interesting facts about Downtown Pensacola. Grab an issue or read it online today

 

Palafox Subway Catches Fire

Pensacola Auto Accident Attorney“The Subway below us had a fire last night. We are all ok, and our home on the corner of Palafox and Romana will be ok too, lots of smoke. From all of us at Zarzaur Law P.A.; thank you City of Pensacola first responders! Our Pensacola Fire Department and our Pensacola Police Department response last night was amazing.
We appreciate you!”

 


Afterward, Pensacola auto accident lawyer, Joe Zarzaur brought over a catered lunch to the Pensacola Fire Department to thank them for everything they’ve done!

 

Thanks again to Pensacola Fire Department nd Pensacola Police Department from Zarzaur Law, P.A!

 

Downtown Pensacola Trick or Treat

Pensacola Car Crash Attorney

The Zarzaur Law, P.A. team working together at the Pensacola Downtown Improvement Board’s Annual Trick or Treat event!

 

 

One of Pensacola’s most anticipated events of the year, the family-friendly returned to Palafox Street for another fun night. More than 50 businesses along Palafox, marked with a trick-or-treat poster displayed in their window, were ready to fill bags with candy and other Halloween goodies – Including Zarzaur Law! For the second year in a row, the Superhero block was the talk of the town, giving out handfuls of candy and safety reflectors for Halloween Night.

 

5 Controversial Medical Treatments Still Used Today

Pensacola Medical Malpractice

Pensacola medical malpractice is a controversial issue nationwide, pitting doctors and hospitals against lawyers and patients in a he-said, she-said battle over healthcare providers’ responsibility, the cost of malpractice insurance, and so-called “tort reform” measures in states that limit recoveries for devastating harm inflicted upon victims of Pensacola medical malpractice.

Controversial Medical Treatments

It’s easy to look back at medieval medical practices and wonder how they ever thought it would work. Theories about the four bodily humors may seem quaint in retrospect, but given the way medical knowledge and technology evolves, it’s almost certain future generations will look back at medicine in our time and similarly wonder what we were thinking.

So which controversial medical treatments are still in practice? Here’s a look at a few.

1. Removing Part of the Skull to Relieve Pressure in the Brain

As WebMD notes, a craniectomy for patients suffering from brain swelling can save a person’s life, but also leave them permanently disabled. A recent study found that the procedure “can drastically reduce risk of death, with about 30 percent of patients dying following the procedure compared to 52 percent of those treated with standard medical care,” but at the same time, “people treated with a craniectomy were three times more likely to wind up in a vegetative state … and often were as likely to suffer long-term disabilities as patients receiving standard medical care.”

2. Chiropractic Treatments

It’s a running theme — among non-chiropractors of course — that chiropractors aren’t medical doctors. And as a recent Pain Science article noted, “The concepts of chiropractic are not based on solid science and its therapeutic value has not been demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt.” Which is not to say chiropractic treatments don’t work, just that their scientific basis hasn’t been established.

3. Electroshock Therapy

Ernest Hemingway blamed it for his memory loss and diminishing writing ability late in his life. According to Live Science, “Today, the therapy is safer, because patients receive anesthesia and electricity doses are much more controlled … Still, the treatment can impair short-term memory and, in rare cases, cause heart problems.”

4. Leech Therapy

If you thought doctors stopped applying leeches to patients in the dark ages, think again. Heathline notes that leech therapy is making a comeback, treating “nervous system abnormalities, dental problems, skin diseases, and infections.” Even Demi Moore thinks so.

5. Maggot Therapy

Battlefield surgeons first started to notice that injured soldiers would heal more quickly in the field if flies laid eggs in their wounds. Later studies revealed that fly larvae “secrete digestive enzymes that can dissolve the wound’s dead and infected tissue, a process known as debridement.” Even though the FDA cleared maggots for medical use in 2004, it doesn’t sound all that appealing.

Pensacola Medical Malpractice laws are aimed at protecting the patient from negligent medical treatment. These cases usually arise when the patient has been injured due to the improper actions of a healthcare professional. Take note, though–these cases can also arise through the inaction of the healthcare professional.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. OUR AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident and are suffering from delayed symptoms, it is important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

Zarzaur Law Crash Report: The Most Dangerous Times on the Road

Pensacola Car Accident LawyerThe odds of getting into a driving accident increase during periods when there are more cars on the road, such as rush hour, or when driving conditions are less than optimal, as during periods of inclement weather. But when the number of alcohol-impaired drivers increases, the odds skyrocket. Research into periods when motorists are most vulnerable to accidents involving alcohol-impaired drivers offers an instructive road map for avoiding those times when driving risks are the greatest.

Car Accident Lawyer, Joe Zarzaur of Pensacola Law Firm Zarzaur Law P.A. can assist you or your loved ones if they are involved in a Pensacola car accident.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), between 2001 and 2005, 36 fatalities occurred per day on average in the United States as a result of crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver. At certain times of the year, such as summers and holidays, those numbers rose dramatically. During the Christmas period, for example, an average of 45 fatalities involving an alcohol-impaired driver occurred each day, and soared to 54 per day over the New Year’s holiday. All these numbers would almost certainly be lower if breathalyzer use were more widespread.

The summer season usually offers the best weather and driving conditions of the year – dry roads, excellent visibility, and longer daylight hours. But the seasonal benefits can be negated by other factors. According to the NHTSA, a higher volume of holiday travelers, including a significantly higher number of alcohol-impaired drivers, cause nearly twice the number of automotive deaths during summer months than during the rest of the year combined.

The IIHS found that the second deadliest day after July 4 was September 2, followed by August 13, July 15, May 20, and November 11. Perhaps surprisingly, New Year’s Eve ranked 7th, with 130 average fatalities.

Pensacola Law Firm

IIHS also discovered that seven of the 25 deadliest days in the U.S. occurred during August, which made it the deadliest month on the road. September and July rank as the second and third deadliest months, according to the NHTSA, and March had the fewest auto fatalities.

Many of the deadliest days occur when people celebrate special occasions and events, such as Cinco de Mayo or the Super Bowl. For example, a NHTSA study found that alcohol-related crashes claimed a life every 51 minutes on St. Patrick’s Day in 2010, accounting for 32% of all fatalities that occurred that day.

The NHTSA reports that most accidents occur during “rush hour,” between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.  And according to the NHTSA, Saturday is the most dangerous day of the week to drive, primarily because there are more cars – and more drunk drivers – on the road than any other day. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 31% of fatal drunk-driving accidents occur on the weekend, and the highest number of drunk drivers is on the road between midnight and 3 a.m. Fatal crashes are also four times higher at night than during the day.

If you or someone you know has experienced a Pensacola car accident, please call a PensacolaCar Accident Lawyer at Zarzaur Law, P.A. to see if we can be of assistance.

Animal Attacks & Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyer

Pensacola Personal Injury LawyerAnimal attacks are often an under-appreciated cause of personal injury. Approximately 4.5 million people suffer dog bites each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And here in Florida there was a recently a tragic story involving the death of a two-year-old child attacked by an alligator.  That particular case will be governed by general Florida negligence law but Florida has specific laws regarding some animals. Injuries inflicted by dogs and horses have specific Florida Statues concerning who may be liable.

Visitor’s Pass Dooms Personal Injury Claim

Liability for animal attack injuries is often governed by very specific state laws. For example, a recent decision by the Florida Third District Court of Appeal in Miami addressed liability in the context of a horse bite attack. As it turns out, there is a statute in Florida that deals with personal injury claims arising from “equine activity.”

The plaintiff in this case actually had substantial experience with horses. He was a former jockey. One day his roommate, who owned a horse, invited him to come see the animal, who was kept at a stable in northern Florida. Since the plaintiff was no longer an active jockey, he needed to obtain a guest pass to enter the stable’s grounds.

As the two men traveled through the stable to see the roommate’s horse, according to court records, “another horse named Forever Happy jumped out of his stall” and bit the plaintiff’s chest. The plaintiff subsequently filed a personal injury lawsuit against the owner of the stable, alleging its negligence in failing to properly secure Forever Happy led to his bite injury.

The trial court ultimately dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint, and the Third District affirmed that decision on appeal. The plaintiff’s lawsuit failed because of Florida’s Equine Activities Liabilities Act. The Act’s operative provision states that “an equine activity sponsor, an equine professional, or any other person…shall not be liable for an injury to…a participant resulting from the inherent risks of equine activities.” In this context, an “equine activity” includes “visiting or touring or utilizing an equine facility as part of an organized event or activity.”

Pensacola Auto Accident Attorney

The plaintiff argued that he was not visiting the stable as part of an “organized event or activity”—he and his roommate made a spontaneous decision to go that morning—and therefore the Act did not apply. The courts disagreed. The Third District noted that the plaintiff required a visitor’s pass to enter the stable area. “Put another way,” the appeals court said, “in order for [the plaintiff] to have gained access to the area where his injury occurred, [he] had to jump over an established hurdle.” This “hurdle” was sufficient to make his visit, spontaneous or otherwise, and “organized activity,” thereby relieving the stable owner of any liability for the plaintiff’s injuries.

Get Advice From a Pensacola Florida Personal Injury Lawyer

While this case did not work out in the plaintiff’s favor, there are many other situations where an animal owner or care facility may be liable for injuries to third parties. An experienced Pensacola dog bite and animal attack lawyer can review your case and help you decide whether to bring litigation against a negligent party. Contact Zarzaur Law, P.A., if you need to speak with an lawyer today about any type of Pensacola personal injury work.

Zarzaur Law Crash Report: Florida Accidents & Road Dangers

pensacola-auto-accident-lawyerRoad crash statistics indicate that almost 1.3 million people die in traffic crashes each year, which translates to 3,287 traffic accident deaths in the U.S. every day. Another 20 to 50 million individuals are either injured or disabled.

Auto accidents happen every day and come out of nowhere to disrupt your life and leave you with serious injuries. Whether you’re a driver, motorcyclist, or bicyclist, you are at risk of being involved in an accident any time you are on the road. Statistically, you have a much higher chance of dying in a motorcycle accident than a car accident, but the numbers are sobering no matter how you look at them:

Chance of dying in car accident: 1 in 18,585
Chance of dying on a motorcycle: 1 in 802
Chance of dying on a bicycle: 1 in 4,472

Sadly, more than half of all road traffic deaths occur among young adults between the ages of 15 to 44.

With an average cost of $1.1 billion per motor vehicle death, $61,600 for each non-fatal disabling injury accident, and $7,500 for each accident resulting in only property damage, accidents on the road come at a high personal and financial cost. According to Forbes magazine, if you got your license at the age of 16, your odds of experiencing a road accident of some sort are high. In fact, the majority of drivers will have at least one accident by age 34, and should be involved in a total of three to four accidents over their lifetime.

Car Accidents on the Rise in Florida

Reports from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles state that traffic accidents in the Sunshine State rose more than 20 percent between 2011 and 2012 and involved more than 130,000 more drivers than in previous years.

The rate of fatal crashes in this time period also increased 1.8 percent from previous years, ranking Florida high in fatal car accidents compared to other states. Pedestrian-related crashes and injuries increased by almost 20 percent.

Bicycle and motorcycle accident injuries also increased in Florida, with bicycle accident crashes jumping 28 percent, and motorcycle accidents rising by nearly 10 percent.

Most Common Causes of Death: Where Do Traffic Accidents Rank?

According to MedHelp, traffic accidents are a leading cause of death in the United States. Unfortunately, driving, walking, and bicycling are all dangerous activities. Here is a breakdown of how they rank among the other top causes of death:

Bicycle accidents: #17. Bicycle accidents accounted for more than 630 deaths in 2009.
Motorcycle accidents: #12. Motorcycle accidents accounted for over 4,760 deaths in 2009.
Pedestrian accidents: #11. Statistically, pedestrian-related crashes are deadlier than motorcycle accidents, especially when walking on a busy street.
Car accidents: #8. Car accidents remain one of the top ten leading causes of death in the United States.

Speak With a Pensacola Auto Accident Lawyer Now

Driving is something most people need to do every day. Unfortunately, you can’t control how other motorists drive, which leaves you vulnerable to an accident. If you or anyone you know was injured in a traffic accident, call Joe Zarzaur, Pensacola Auto Accident lawyer at Zarzaur Law, P.A. for a free case evaluation.

When Is It Safe To Pass a School Bus? Back-To-School Laws Explained By Pensacola Auto Accident Attorney

Pensacola Auto Accident LawyerDrivers who have been caught speeding in school zones know: You have to pay a pricey fine if you get pulled over.

In Florida in 2015, law enforcement officers wrote more than 35,000 tickets to people caught speeding in a school zone, according to the Florida Department of Transportation. In Palm Beach County alone last year, more than 3,500 drivers received citations.

So how can drivers avoid being issued a costly — and potentially time-consuming — ticket?

Florida law says signs must be posted around each school zone telling drivers how fast they can go and when the school zone is in effect. Some signs feature flashing lights rather than a list of times — so don’t assume that because there aren’t lights flashing, you aren’t in a school zone.

If a driver goes over the posted school zone speed — which in Florida could be as low as 15 mph, but no higher than 20 mph — that driver could see a whopping fine. If the set school zone speed limit is 20 mph and you’re caught going 40, your fine usually would be $175 — and that’s aside from any other citations an officer may write. But that speed in an active school zone would net you a ticket of $350.

Last year, a Boynton Beach woman nabbed for speeding in a school zone received a $606 ticket — and went viral when the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office released dashboard camera video of her telling a deputy, “No wonder you people get shot.”

When is it safe to pass a school bus? Back-to-school laws explained photo

At the time, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw called the behavior “totally unacceptable,” adding, “This was not a confrontation. This was someone trying to help our children.”

Passing a school bus

If a school bus stops to pick up or drop off children, there’s only one situation where it’s legal for drivers to pass: If there is a five-foot barrier or unpaved median between the side of the road you’re on and the side of the road the bus is on.

Otherwise, drivers must stop, whether approaching a bus from the front or behind, when a bus is halted with its lights flashing and its “stop” signs extended.

It would seem simple enough, but a survey of bus drivers in 2015 and citation counts from around Florida show many people violate this law.

In Palm Beach County in 2015, FDOT records show 180 drivers were cited for passing a bus while it was stopped. Throughout the state, more than 2,000 citations were issued.

And in a 2015 Florida Department of Education one-day survey of bus drivers on how many people improperly passed their vehicles, nearly 11,000 instances were reported.

Of those, 371 cars passed buses on the right side — where children exit.

Penalties for drivers who pass on the right side of the bus are stiff, double the penalty for those who pass on the left.

An illegal left-hand pass could net you a $100 ticket, according to Florida statutes. If you’re ticketed for the same violation again with the next five years, your license could be suspended anywhere from 90 days to six months.

But pass on the right, and that ticket bumps up to $200, with a second violation leading to a license suspension of six months to a year.

School Zone Safety Laws & Tips: Pensacola Auto Accident Attorney

Pensacola Auto Accident LawyerZarzaur Law School Zone Safety Laws & Tips

Pensacola Law Firm, Zarzaur Law,  wants to educate and raise awareness about school zone safety laws in order to prevent a tragedy. School zones combined with changing traffic and weather conditions create an extremely dangerous situation – the perfect situation for auto accidents.

Back to school is an exciting time for both parents and students, but we must remember to put safety first.

Joe Zarzaur, a Pensacola auto accident lawyer, strongly urges drivers to slow down and allow additional drive time to your scheduled destination and stay absolutely focused on your driving tasks: “Just Drive” The following bus stop and distracted driving tips may save a life!

School Bus Stop Laws & Safety Tips

School buses use two types of stop procedures while children are boarding and exiting the bus: RED LIGHT STOPS and HAZARD LIGHT STOPS.

  • RED LIGHT STOPS – School buses use overhead yellow flashing lights to alert motorists that they are preparing to stop. Red overhead flashing lights and an extended stop sign arm signals to motorists that the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off the bus.
  • All 50 states have a law making it illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children while displaying the red overhead flashing lights and extended stop sign.
  • All 50 states require that traffic in both directions stop on undivided roadways when students are entering or exiting a school bus during a red light stop.
  • YELLOW HAZARD LIGHT STOPS – School buses use low yellow hazard lights (located just below the windshield and back windows) to alert motorists that they are pulling off the roadway in preparation for a hazard stop. This type of stop is only done when students do not have to cross a roadway while getting on or off the bus and the bus can safely pull out of the traffic lane. These types of stops are typical on busy roads to help traffic flow around the bus and prevent traffic backups.
  • Motorist can proceed slowly around a school bus on the left side when only the hazard lights are on.

Tip: A slogan to remember:

“Lights up top you must STOP – Lights down low you may proceed SLOW”

  • Never pass a school bus on the right. It is illegal and could have tragic consequences. If you pass the bus on the right-hand side, you will pay a minimum fine of $265 for your first offense. A second offense within 5 years of this nature carries an additional $265 fine, as well as the suspension of your license for 180 days to one year and a mandatory court hearing.
  • Drivers who pass on the left-hand side are no less culpable for their actions. Your first offense will cost you $165, and a second offense will add another $165 to that total, along with license suspension of 90 days to 6 months.
    • You will also be required to attend and successfully complete a basic driver improvement course. As of October 2009, the state mandates your enrollment into a state approvedFlorida traffic school course, and you must complete the course within the time allotted by the court. Submission of successful completion proves to the state that you have reviewed and refreshed your knowledge of Florida traffic laws, including those dealing with school zones and school buses.
  • Be alert. Children are unpredictable. Children walking to or from their bus are usually very comfortable with their surroundings. This makes them more likely to take risks, ignore hazards or fail to look both ways when crossing the street.
  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is where children are in the most danger of being hit. Stop your car far enough from the bus to allow children the necessary space to safely enter and exit the bus.

JUST Drive: Do You?

Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. While driving do you text message, use your cell phone, eat – drink, or read?

  • Drivers who use hand-held devices are 4 times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.
  • Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted.
  • Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind.
  • Parents who use cell phones while driving are endangering their children and others. But just as important, it teaches young people that this behavior is OK. When in fact, it may be illegal and harmful to their health and welfare.
  • 11% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.
  • 40% of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger.

If you or a loved one is involved in a Pensacola Auto Accident or car wreck case, it is important to consult with a Board Certified Civil Trial lawyer who can hep bring justice to your situation. For more information on this issue or any other Pensacola car accident questions, please feel free to call (855) Hire-Joe or on the web at www.zarzaurlaw.com.