At one time, a majority of states, including Florida, required vehicle safety inspections. But many of these states repealed their inspection laws, leaving only a few states with annual safety inspection programs.
While the repeal of these laws was welcome news to many, it also means that unsafe vehicles are able to reach roadways. Defective brakes, tires, and other parts cause car accidents, injuries, and deaths in St. Petersburg, Florida and elsewhere. Many of these problems were known to the driver or could have been caught by a vehicle safety inspection.
Contact Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys and schedule your free consultation with our established and experienced St. Petersburg car accident attorneys, call us at (727) 933-0015.
How Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys Can Help After a Motor Vehicle Accident in St. Petersburg, FL
Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys was founded in 2018 to provide local representation to accident victims in and near St. Petersburg, FL. Our lawyers have handled all types of personal injury cases and recovered millions of dollars in injury compensation for our clients.
Our St. Petersburg car accident lawyers have over 25 years of combined experience and provide clients with:
- Compassionate representation as we fight for victims and their families
- Personalized attention and consistent communication about each case
- Lawyers with a reputation for fierce advocacy on behalf of every client
A car accident can put you in the difficult position of being too injured to work but also needing to work to pay for medical care. Contact Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys for a free consultation to learn how an experienced attorney can help you recover fair injury compensation after your accident.
How Many Car Accidents Result From Unsafe Vehicles?
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a comprehensive study to identify why traffic crashes happen. According to this study, 94% of crashes happen for reasons attributed to drivers.
Only 2% of accidents resulted from road defects or weather conditions, and another 2% resulted from defective or unsafe vehicles. This might seem like a small number, but across the United States, over 40,000 accidents a year happen as a result of vehicle failures.
In Florida, crashes from equipment failure rarely happen. If you review the Florida Crash Facts reports for the past few years, you will find that the state has not had a reported crash caused by equipment failure since 2019. And those two crashes caused no injuries or deaths.
Vehicle Inspections in Florida
In the late 1960s, Congress passed a law that required states to implement periodic safety inspection programs. States that did not implement inspection programs risked losing part of their federal highway funding.
By the mid-1970s, 31 states required every car owner to have their vehicle pass a safety inspection to register it. But Congress only kept this requirement in place for a few years before eliminating the threat of funding cuts. As a result, states almost immediately began rolling back their inspection programs.
Florida repealed its inspection program in the late 1990s. Then-governor Jeb Bush eliminated both the safety and emissions inspection programs. Since that time, Florida automobile owners only need to prove identity, ownership, and insurance to register their vehicles. They do not need annual inspection certificates.
Police Safety Inspections
These developments do not mean that you can drive an unsafe vehicle on Florida’s roads. Florida law allows police officers to stop drivers operating unsafe vehicles. Under the safety inspection law, grounds for a safety violation include vehicles:
- With extra equipment prohibited by Florida law
- That lack the required equipment like headlights
- With equipment not in proper condition or adjustment
- In an unsafe condition that endangers people or property
Under Florida car inspection laws, a police officer can prohibit you from driving away in your vehicle. If the safety violation renders your vehicle unsafe to drive, the officer may require you to tow it. But if the officer believes that you can safely drive it, they can allow you to leave with an order to repair your car within 48 hours.
Officers have the discretion to issue a ticket for operating an unsafe vehicle. For a first offense, they might warn you and order you to fix the vehicle. But if you already received a warning and get pulled over again, the officer will likely ticket you.
After you receive a ticket, you can reduce your fine by asking for a re-inspection. Your ticket will include an affidavit of compliance. After you repair your vehicle, you can take it to a police station for re-inspection.
If your car passes the safety inspection, an officer will sign your affidavit of compliance. The court will reduce your sentence if you file a signed affidavit.
Liability for Crashes Caused by Unsafe Equipment
If you were injured in a crash caused by unsafe equipment, you may have a claim against:
- The driver for operating a vehicle they knew or should have known to be unsafe
- An auto manufacturer for selling defective equipment
- A repair garage for performing defective repairs
The claims available in your case will depend on how the equipment failure happened.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our St. Petersburg Car Accident Lawyers
A crash due to vehicle defects opens up the possibility of claims against various parties and their insurers. Contact Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights after a car accident injures you. Our St. Petersburg car accident attorneys work for a contingency fee, so you’ll only have to pay us attorney’s fees if we obtain compensation for you.