324.051 Reports of crashes; suspensions of licenses and registrations.— (1)(a) Every law enforcement officer who, in the regular course of duty either at the time of and at the scene of the crash or thereafter by interviewing participants or witnesses, investigates a motor vehicle crash which he or she is required to report pursuant to s. 316.066(1) shall forward a written report of the crash to the department within 10 days of completing the investigation. However, when the investigation of a crash will take more than 10 days to complete, a preliminary copy of the crash report shall be forwarded to the department within 10 days after the occurrence of the crash, to be followed by a final report within 10 days after completion of the investigation. The report shall be on a form and contain information consistent with the requirements of s. 316.068.
(b) The department is hereby further authorized to require reports of crashes from individual owners or operators whenever it deems it necessary for the proper administration of this chapter, and these reports shall be made without prejudice except as specified in this subsection. No such report shall be used as evidence in any trial arising out of a crash. However, subject to the applicable rules of evidence, a law enforcement officer at a criminal trial may testify as to any statement made to the officer by the person involved in the accident if that person’s privilege against self-incrimination is not violated.
(2)(a) Thirty days after receipt of notice of any accident described in paragraph (1)(a) involving a motor vehicle within this state, the department shall suspend, after due notice and opportunity to be heard, the license of each operator and all registrations of the owner of the vehicles operated by such operator whether or not involved in such crash and, in the case of a nonresident owner or operator, shall suspend such nonresident’s operating privilege in this state, unless such operator or owner shall, prior to the expiration of such 30 days, be found by the department to be exempt from the operation of this chapter, based upon evidence satisfactory to the department that:
1. The motor vehicle was legally parked at the time of such crash.
2. The motor vehicle was owned by the United States Government, this state, or any political subdivision of this state or any municipality therein.
3. Such operator or owner has secured a duly acknowledged written agreement providing for release from liability by all parties injured as the result of said crash and has complied with one of the provisions of s. 324.031. 4. Such operator or owner has deposited with the department security to conform with s. 324.061 when applicable and has complied with one of the provisions of s. 324.031. 5. One year has elapsed since such owner or operator was suspended pursuant to subsection (3), the owner or operator has complied with one of the provisions of s. 324.031, and no bill of complaint of which the department has notice has been filed in a court of competent jurisdiction. (b) This subsection shall not apply:
1. To such operator or owner if such operator or owner had in effect at the time of such crash or traffic conviction an automobile liability policy with respect to all of the registered motor vehicles owned by such operator or owner.
2. To such operator, if not the owner of such motor vehicle, if there was in effect at the time of such crash or traffic conviction an automobile liability policy or bond with respect to his or her operation of motor vehicles not owned by him or her.
3. To such operator or owner if the liability of such operator or owner for damages resulting from such crash is, in the judgment of the department, covered by any other form of liability insurance or bond.
4. To any person who has obtained from the department a certificate of self-insurance, in accordance with s. 324.171, or to any person operating a motor vehicle for such self-insurer.
No such policy or bond shall be effective under this subsection unless it contains limits of not less than those specified in s. 324.021(7).
(3) Any driver’s license or registration certificate or certificates and registration plates which are suspended as provided for in this section shall remain suspended for a period of 3 years unless reinstated as otherwise provided in this chapter.
History.—s. 1, ch. 29963, 1955; s. 2, ch. 57-147; ss. 1, 2, ch. 65-122; s. 6, ch. 65-190; ss. 13, 24, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 2, ch. 71-59; s. 2, ch. 76-266; s. 2, ch. 77-118; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 7, ch. 77-468; s. 1, ch. 78-83; s. 20, ch. 78-95; s. 2, ch. 83-22; s. 10, ch. 85-81; s. 3, ch. 89-271; s. 54, ch. 89-282; s. 28, ch. 90-119; s. 15, ch. 91-255; s. 90, ch. 94-306; s. 946, ch. 95-148; s. 303, ch. 99-248; s. 2, ch. 2006-260; s. 7, ch. 2010-163.
Note.—Former s. 324.04.