Clifton and Lewis Insurance urges public to look into insurance coverage for drivers with convicted DUIs.
TAMPA, FL - Driving while under the influence is never a good idea, but it happens. Out of all of the car accident fatalities in 2018, more than 10,000 were caused by impaired drivers. According to Florida Statute 324.203, “mandates that any person convicted of DUI in the state of Florida is required to obtain a minimum level of insurance coverage before they can reinstate their driver’s license and also maintain this coverage for three-years after the date of conviction.” (Richard E. Hornsby, P.A.).
In the state of Florida if you’re driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher, you are considered to be impaired and not able to properly practice “normal” driving requirements. If you’re under the influence and you were pulled over by a police officer, he may want to use a breathalyzer to test your BAC. As the driver you do have the right to deny this test, but the officer can then take matters into their own hands and will require you to complete field sobriety tests. These tests include: horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), the walk-and-turn, and the one-leg stand tests. These tests are designed to test the “jerking” of your eye movements and the divided attention you may experience when you are under the influence of a substance. Officers may also make assumptions based off of your “driving pattern, bloodshot eyes, the smell of alcohol...impaired memory or slurred speech” (Atkinson Law Offices).
Those convicted are required to submit an FR44 (Financial Responsibility) certificate through their auto insurance carrier when reinstating their driver’s license. This will imply that the driver is aware of the specific insurance coverage they will need because of their conviction. The certificate ranges from $15-$20, but the actual cost of the policy depends on the demographics of the convicted (age, gender, income, marital status, etc.) Coverage limits, however, will definitely be more because you’ve put yourself and others at risk. Liability limits are also much higher. There must be at least $100,000 for injury or death to a person, $300,000 for injury or death to two or more people and $50,000 for property damage liability. Failure to comply with FR44 coverage will result in the driver’s license being suspended.
If you or someone you know was convicted of a DUI, you are required to purchase FR44 coverage before reinstating your license. Does this sound truly inconvenient? Next time you want to have a few cold ones, make arrangements on how you’ll be getting home safely.
Richard Hornsby, P.A.
State of Florida