Florida repealed its emissions inspection program in 2009 and its safety inspection laws in 1981. But state law can still require vehicle inspections in some situations.
Safety inspection laws were intended to protect drivers from car accidents caused by defective or unsafe vehicles. Equipment failures, such as brake malfunctions or even flat tires, can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles. The resulting crashes can damage property and injure other road users.
As a driver in Jacksonville, Florida, it is essential to understand car inspection laws and how they affect injury claims. Contact the experienced car accident attorneys at Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers or give us a call at (904) 396-1100.
How Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After a Jacksonville, Florida Car Accident
Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers was established in 2015 to fight for accident victims in northeast Florida. Our Jacksonville car accident attorneys have recovered tens of millions of dollars in injury compensation for our clients.
With over 69 years of combined legal experience, our lawyers have earned some of the profession’s greatest honors, including:
- AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating for legal knowledge and ethics
- Platinum Client Champion Award from Martindale-Hubbell for high client ratings
- 10.0 Superb rating from Avvo
Once you hire us, we can:
- Collect evidence and identify the full extent of your damages
- Hire experts to further strengthen your claim, as needed
- Negotiate a settlement and file a lawsuit against the at-fault party if necessary
A car accident in Jacksonville, FL, resulting from a dangerously defective vehicle can injure or even kill those involved. To discuss your car accident injuries and the compensation you can seek for them, contact Baggett Law for a free consultation.
Car Inspection Laws: How Common Are They?
In the National Highway Safety Act of 1966, Congress made 10% of state highway funding contingent on states passing vehicle safety inspection laws. Only six states failed to pass these laws, which means that the vast majority of vehicle owners needed to get periodic safety inspections.
But Congress eventually removed the contingency, and states began repealing their vehicle safety inspection laws. Currently, only 19 states require some form of safety inspection. Many of these laws only apply to old vehicles or used car sales. The only states to require annual safety inspections include:
- New Hampshire
- New York
- North Carolina
- West Virginia
Florida does not have any vehicle safety inspection requirements for passenger vehicles. And the repeal of the safety inspection laws might make sense. In Florida’s 2020 Crash Facts Report, the state’s law enforcement agencies reported zero crashes that resulted from equipment failures.
What You Need To Know About Florida Car Inspection Laws
Rather than requiring universal vehicle safety inspections, Florida treats vehicle safety inspections on a case-by-case basis.
Stopping Unsafe Vehicles
Florida drivers violate traffic safety laws when they drive unsafe vehicles. Under Florida law, vehicles cannot:
- Be in a condition that endangers any person or property
- Lack the parts or equipment required by the vehicle code
- Include parts prohibited by the vehicle code
Thus, a police officer could stop a vehicle with a cracked windshield, missing bumper, or highly reflective tint.
When an officer stops you due to a suspected unsafe vehicle, you must allow the officer to inspect it to determine whether it meets Florida’s vehicle code. If the inspection reveals a safety issue, the officer can:
- Issue a traffic citation
- Prohibit you from driving the vehicle if continued operation poses a safety threat
- Allow you to leave with the vehicle as long as you fix the vehicle within 48 hours if driving it would not pose a safety threat
The citation requires you to pay a $30 fine, plus administrative fees and court costs. Towing expenses could run into hundreds of dollars. And repair expenses might cost you thousands, depending on the safety issue identified in the citation.
But the traffic citation will include an affidavit of compliance with it. If you make the required repairs, you can take the vehicle to any police department or sheriff’s office in the state for re-inspection.
An officer will inspect the vehicle and verify that the required repairs were made. If the vehicle passes the re-inspection, the officer will complete the affidavit of compliance. When you turn in the affidavit to the court handling the citation, the court will reduce the fine from $30 to $10, but you will still need to pay administrative fees and court costs.
How Does Liability Work for Crashes Caused by Equipment Failures?
When a driver causes a crash due to negligently failing to repair their vehicle, they may be liable for any resulting injuries. You would show negligence by proving the driver knew or should have known that driving the vehicle in an unsafe condition could foreseeably cause a crash.
Accident victims might also pursue injury claims against manufacturers or even repair garages for equipment failures. If the vehicle was dangerously defective because of its condition when sold, accident victims may pursue product liability claims against the auto manufacturer.
Conversely, suppose that you got hit by a vehicle that had undergone repairs performed by negligent repair technicians or with defective replacement parts. You might have a claim against the repair garage or parts manufacturer for your injuries.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Jacksonville Car Accident Lawyers
Car accidents can happen at any time due to unsafe vehicles. But our experienced Jacksonville car accident lawyers can help you seek justice for your injuries and determine which parties might have been liable for them. Contact Baggett Law for a free consultation today.