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Top Five Traffic Tickets and How They Affect Car Crashes


Driver error causes over 90 percent of all the car crashes in Florida. Sometimes, this driver error involves driver impairment, such as fatigue or a medical condition. But more often than not, the human error is a simple driving mistake. We all make mistakes, and we must all face the consequences of our mistakes. That’s the essence of a negligence claim.

Sometimes, traffic violation crashes involve the negligence per se rule. Tortfeasors (negligent drivers) are presumptively liable for damages if they violate a safety law and that violation substantially causes a collision. For various reasons, emergency responders do not always hand out traffic tickets, even if one driver clearly broke a safety law. In these situations, a Brandon personal injury attorney can use the ordinary negligence doctrine to obtain compensation for victims.


In most jurisdictions, speeding tickets are far and away the most common traffic violations. Generally, these citations are rather easy to prove in court and they generate significant revenue. Excessive speed is also one of the most common vehicle collision causes in Hillsborough County, so these citations have significant safety issues.

The Event Data Recorder is often a big part of a speeding negligence claim. Much like the black box flight recorders in commercial jets, EDRs measure and store vehicle speed and other operational data. For crash purposes, there is a big difference between 5mph over the limit and 15mph over the limit. EDRs clearly establish this important point.

Running a Red Light

This driving miscue also causes a number of crashes. When drivers have green lights, they usually do not have a legal duty to pause and make sure the intersection is clear.

Much like speeding tickets, degree matters in running a red light. Many drivers make rolling right turns. They pause but do not come to a complete stop. Such behavior frequently, but does not always, substantially contribute to a serious crash. On the other hand, some drivers completely ignore red lights and barrel through the intersection at full speed. If another car was in the intersection, the results could be catastrophic.

Failure to Signal

Many people get FTS tickets because they did not signal before turning. These violations rarely contribute to serious crashes. Generally, the motorist is either stopped or moving very slowly at these times.

Failure to signal a lane change is another matter. Drivers who suddenly pull out in front of other drivers without warning cause a number of crashes. That’s especially true in some situations. For example, Eddie might make a legal lane change at the same moment that Philip, who is in front of Eddie, makes an illegal lane change.

Crossing the Median

In terms of degree, these citations are much like the others discussed so far. There’s a difference between drifting over the center line for a few moments and driving on the wrong side of the road.

These citations illustrate an important point. There is often a difference between fault at the scene and liability for damages. Now assume Eddie was northbound when he crossed the center line onto the southbound side. If Philip saw Eddie coming and did nothing to avoid the crash, Philip might be legally responsible for the crash, even though he did not break the law.

Reckless Driving

This one barely makes the top five list. Police do not issue many reckless driving citations, but most people see at least one reckless driver every week. The statutory definition is rather vague. Most officers issue these citations if the driver violated two traffic laws at once. Zipping between lanes is a good example.

Frequently, in negligence per se cases, a reckless driving ticket by itself might be sufficient evidence of negligence. It’s almost impossible for an insurance company lawyer to argue that such behavior did not contribute to the crash.

Reach Out to Assertive Attorneys

Traffic violations contribute to a significant number of serious crashes. For a free consultation with an experienced Brandon car accident lawyer, contact Reed & Reed, Attorneys at Law. We have four area offices (St. Petersburg, Lakeland, Tampa, and Clearwater).

Brandon Personal Injury
Reed & Reed, Attorneys at Law, is located in Brandon, FL and serves clients in
and around Brandon, Tampa, Apollo Beach, Sydney, Gibsonton, Balm, Valrico, Wimauma, Sun City Center, Lithia, Ruskin, Durant, and Hillsborough County.

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