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9. Auto Accidents: Causes & Prevention

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Insurance (cont.)

If you do not have enough insurance (i.e., you are underinsured) and are involved in an accident, other persons involved could bring a judgment against your assets. In other words, they can sue you for damages not covered by your insurance policy.

Most drivers choose to have an automobile liability policy as proof of financial responsibility. If you have an accident not covered by your insurance, your license will be suspended. If the driver is not identified, the owner of the motor vehicle will have his or her license suspended.

Your license will be suspended for failing to pay for property damage in excess of $750 or for damages resulting from injury or death which resulted from a motor vehicle, if a certified copy of a judgment is received from a small claims court.

As the owner of a vehicle, you are responsible for damages in the event of an accident in which someone else is driving if they have your express or implied permission to drive the vehicle. The person signing a minor's license application assumes liability for damages caused by the minor regardless of whose vehicle he or she is driving.

Many lawsuits resulting from accidents settle for much more m oney than the minimum amounts set by the financial responsibility law. You may have to pay the extra money if your insurance does not pay it all.

Your license can be suspended for failing to have or provide proof of insurance . It is illegal to drive without being financially responsible. If you don't have evidence of financial responsibility to show law enforcement when you are stopped for a citation or after an accident, you may have to pay a fine of up to $500 plus penalty assessments, and your vehicle may be impounded.

If you do not have acceptable financial responsibility and you have an accident, you may lose your license for up to 4 years. Presenting false evidence of financial responsibility, including an expired or canceled insurance policy, bond, certificate of selfinsurance, or assignment of deposit letter is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $750 and 30 days of jail time.

The evidence of financial responsibility that you present to DMV to register your vehicle or in the event of an accident or other traffic stop is reviewed. DMV may ask the insurance company or other entity to verify that you do indeed have coverage, particularly at the time of an accident. If you did not actually have the proper insurance coverage, your driving privilege will be suspended for 1 year. To get your license back, you will need to provide evidence of financial responsibility and maintain it for the next 3 years.

If you are under 18 years of age, your parents must sign your license application. Your parents, or any other persons who sign for your driver license, accept liability up to $35,000 for any one accident that you are involved in . This assumption of your liability may be voided when the person who signed for your license notifies DMV to have your license canceled. Your parent's or guardian's liability also ceases when you reach age 18.

If you are involved in an accident, you may be liable for civil damages. If the accident involved a law violation, then you may also be fined. Your parents are responsible if you are under 18 and drive without a license. You may not even drive minibikes, scooters, or mopeds on public property (roads or sidewalks) without a driver license.

A vehicle cannot be registered or have its registration renewed without evidence of financial responsibility.

Recall from Lesson 6 that the DMV keeps a public record of all at-fault accidents and assigns point counts to these occurrences for the purpose of alerting drivers when they are in danger of being classified as a Negligent Operator of a motor vehicle. If you obtain too many points on your record, your license may be suspended or revoked.


Lesson Summary


  

Lesson 9 Quiz


You will now answer 5 questions to test what you learned during this lesson. You must answer all questions correctly to receive completion credit for this lesson. You may answer the questions as many times as necessary to get them right.

You should review the lesson material if you don't do well on the quiz.

  1. Failure to yield is the primary cause of what percentage of fatal and injury collisions?


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  2. Teenage drivers have a total accident rate that is _____ times that of adults:


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  3. To avoid tailgating, and help avoid a rear-end collision, you should give yourself a gap of how many seconds behind the car in front of you?


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  4. If you are distracted for one second, by a cell phone, passenger, or other distraction, at 30 mph you will travel how far "blindly"?


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  5. If you have a tire blowout:


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