Florida SunPass drivers can now drive through North Carolina tolls hassle free.
North Carolina is the first state to accept Florida SunPasses at its tollbooths. Within just 3 years, Florida drivers will be able to cruise through tolls in any US state without having to enroll in another state's toll program.
This initiative has come into effect after years of complaints from South Florida drivers, especially snow birds, who have demanded one simplified transponder that could be used in every state.
Billing, reimbursement between states, and drivers who manage to trick the system have delayed the process, but legislation is finally moving forward.
SunPass drivers can now travel the Triangle Expressway, near Raleigh, and all-electronic toll roads throughout the Tar Heel state. The tolls will be paid electronically and billed directly to the driver's Florida SunPass account. In return, the North Carolina Quick Pass is now accepted on tolls throughout Florida.
An agreement between Florida and Georgia for the Peach Pass is expected be next, though no dates have been announced. A nationwide transponder system is set to be in place by October 2016.
For those of you planning on going out Friday night, the tropical storm that's headed our way might not be the worst thing about the upcoming weekend.
The Miramar police department will be conducting a DUI checkpoint on the 3600 block of South University Drive from 9pm Friday to 4am Saturday.
For more information, click here.
Please be safe and have a nice weekend.
Florida has just joined a growing number of states that allow motorists to show electronic proof of insurance via smartphones or tablets.
As of June 2013, according to a new map prepared by the Property Casualty Insurers (PCI) Association of America, there are now 25 states that allow drivers to use digital proof of insurance, or "e-cards", at traffic stops. In just 2 years, policy makers in half of the country have adapted the law to allow customers to show proof of insurance electronically instead of only via a small piece of paper in their glove compartment.
States that now allow electronic proof of insurance include: Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.
As tablet and mobile device sales and usage continue to increase, consumers expect to have multiple communication platforms with their agent and insurers.
“The E-commerce trend is expanding and motivating other policy changes that will modernize insurance laws and ways of doing business,” said Kelly Campbell, PCI vice president for state affairs.
“Electronic delivery of insurance documents will give consumers and insurers more choices and more flexibility in how policies are serviced. These laws are moving the interaction between customers and insurers away from the Pony Express and into the 21st Century,” Campbell said.
Public policymakers see the benefits in having insurance policies available for consumers electronically so that they can be accessed anywhere and at anytime. The use of digital identification cards is more convenient for drivers, and can also help reduce time in the courts spent addressing tickets issued simply because drivers forgot to put the card in their wallets or their vehicles.
“Six states have approved laws in 2013 that will allow consumers to access their insurance policy through a website," said said Alex Hageli, PCI director of personal lines policy. "Four more states are still actively considering these types of laws this year. This will enable a customer to see their insurance policy 24/7. This will be especially helpful when people are evacuated or suffer a loss following a natural catastrophe.”
Flexible rules in the law will allow drivers that prefer to use the paper proof of insurance can continue to do so. But, what should you do if you want the convenience of electronic proof of insurance instead? The first step is to contact your auto insurance company and ask them if they have an app that includes the feature as an option.
Have you ever used digital proof of insurance when stopped by law enforcement? How was the exchange? At Unger and Kowitt, we'd love to hear about it.
There is nothing quite like summertime as a teenager. School is out, hot weather is here, and lazy beach days are followed by parties at night. But summertime also turns out to be the most dangerous time of the year for teen drivers.
Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for US teens, and recent data implies that, after declining for several years, teen deaths caused by car crashes are rising again.
Federal data shows that the average number of teenagers who die in car accidents doubles during the 3 months of summer. Seven of the 10 deadliest days for teen drivers are during the summer, and some of those days are likely to be teen party weekends: the last Saturday in June, July Fourth weekend, and the Sunday in August right before most universities start their fall semester.
Summertime is "the deadliest time of year for teen drivers and passengers," according to John Townsend II of AAA, who tracks teen fatality statistcs. "Weekends are particularly dangerous for teen drivers."
What's the number one reason for teen accidents? Distracted driving.
According to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 11 percent of drivers younger than 20 who were involved in a deadly crash were reportedly distracted at the time of the incident. NHTSA says drivers are more than 3 times more likely to get into an accident while reaching for something in their car and 23 times more likely to crash while texting.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, made up of the medical doctors who treat broken bones and limbs after crashes and trauma, and AAA have joined forces to sponsor the "Decide to Drive" campaign for teen drivers. The purpose of the campaign is to help young drivers stay focused, keep their hands on the steering wheel, and keep their eyes on the road.
Part of the Decide to Drive campaign includes a "Wreck-less Checklist" to help teens to stay focused on the most important task whenever they are behind the wheel: driving.
According to the checklist, drivers should take care of the following before they even start the ignition:
- Put on sunglasses, Bluetooth ear pieces, or any other accessories
- Adjust seats, headrest, controls, and mirrors
- Fasten the seat belt
- Move all reading material out of arm's reach
- Preload CDs or mp3 playlists
- Ensure that radio volume isn't too high to drown out sirens
- If needed, enter the destination into the car's navigation system
The checklist also includes these helpful tips teen driving tips:
- Pull over and stop the car if a distraction occurs
- Don't eat or drink while driving
- Stay focused on the road
- Don't multitask!
Now that 41 states, including Florida, have officially banned texting while driving, it's even more important that teens practice safe driving habits early on. Traffic ticket violations can be expensive for teens who work low-wage, part-time, summer jobs and traffic tickets can lead to points on a driver's license record, community service, traffic school, restricted driving rights, and increased insurance premiums.
Florida drivers who frequent the Turnpike to and from downtown Miami can expect longer commutes through the congested Golden Glades toll plaza.
Since last night at 9 p.m., the toll lanes at the plaza were reduced and the area will continue this way for the next several months as the plaza converts to an all-electronic tolling system and the phasing out of cash collection.
Work to convert the plaza to an all-econtronic tolling system started in August 2012 and by late this year, cash lanes won't exist. Drivers will pass full speed underneath a new gantry. SunPass drivers will be charged automatically. Otherwise, the gantry will take a photograph of the license place and the vehicle's registration owner will get a bill in the mail. The existing toll booths will be demolished.
One toll lane will close while five remain open on the southbound turnpike. On the northpound side, three lanes will close and four lanes will remain open. Northbound vehicles 12 feet or wider can no longer pass through the Golden Glades plaza and they are directed to stay in I-95. Officials urge RV and commercial trucks drivers to slow down as they pass through the SunPass and cash lanes, since they are only 10 feet wide after the recent reconfiguration.
Florida drivers will soon pay more to drive on the Florida turnpike and other state roads.
On Friday, the Florida Department of Transportation announced that the rates for all toll roads and bridges will increase by approximately 25 cents. The increase is set to go into effect on Sunday, June 24 at 6 a.m.
FDOT officials report that the increase is required by a state law passed in 2007, which mandates a toll increase every 5 years or an optional annual increase based on the consumer price index.
Overall, the increase is expected to raise close to $12 million in state toll revenue. According to Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, executive director of Florida's turnpike, the money will be applied to add more lanes and convert the toll booths into an all-electronic system.
The toll increase, which is based on 2012 inflation, will affect state roads and bridges, including Florida's Turnpike, Alligator Alley, and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge that crosses Tampa Bay.
The good news is that SunPass drivers will continue to enjoy a reduced toll as compared to cash-paying drivers and the next toll increase won't happen again until in 2017.
Governor Rick Scott passed a new traffic law on Tuesday that bans texting while driving in the state of Florida. This officially makes Florida the 41st state to impose some sort of ban on texting at the wheel.
The law specifically bans manual texting and emailing while driving. The penalties amount to $30 plus court costs for a first offense, or $60 plus court costs for a second offense. Under this new law, drivers will still be allowed to text while stopped in traffic or at a red light.
The ban, set to go into effect Oct. 1, will make texting while driving a secondary offense, meaning a police officer would need to pull a driver over for some other violation, such as careless driving, in order to write a texting ticket. This means that if a law enforcement officer sees a person texting and driving without committing any other traffic violation, they won't have any recourse.
According to a preliminary report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 196 crashes in 2012 involved texting drivers. Of those texting crashes, there were nine serious injuries and one death.
Many say that the texting ban is a step in the right direction. Others argue that making texting while driving a secondary offense is inefficient to resolving the dangers. What do you think? Will the new ban passed by Governor Rick Scott really change the habits of South Florida texting drivers? Join the conversation and share your opinion with us.
If you are still one of the remaining 12% of people who are still not wearing their seat belts, get ready to buckle up or get pulled over. The Florida Highway Patrol is coming after you.
Between now and June 2, 2013, the FHP is going to step up enforcement of the "click it or ticket" campaign aimed at making sure everyone uses their seat belt.
Seat belt tickets are now a "primary offense" meaning they don't need another reason to pull you over.
So be smart, be safe and buckle up.
Click Here to read the entire article
What's one of the big reasons people drive drunk? They're at a bar and don't want to call a cab or get driven home because the next morning, they will have to go back and get their car. So they take a chance and hope for the best.
Well, that problem is gone. No more excuses for drinking and driving this Memorial Day Weekend.
The good folks at Budweiser and AAA have teamed up to keep everyone safe between May 24, 2013 (Fri) and May 27, 2013 (Mon).
AAA's Tow To Go program provides FREE towing for you AND your car if you are too drunk to drive. All you have to do is call 1-800-AAA-HELP.
You DO NOT have to be a member of AAA. Just call 1-800-AAA-HELP. It's 100% confidential.
This really is a great program designed to keep everyone safe. Please pass it along.
You can get a FREE tow May 24th all the way through May 27th. Please be safe this holiday weekend.
For more information, CLICK HERE
In a reversal of an earlier decision, the state of Florida has decided to keep the Margate DMV open for road tests. This is a change from the earlier decision 6 months ago when they announced they were closing it.
People can continue to take the road tests and use the Margate DMV for all other DMV functions.
My advice is still to call for an appointment so you don't have to wait all day.