Florida Statutes Section 316.1985, Improper Backing

Car Accident

316.1985 Limitations on backing.--

As experienced Palm Beach and Broward County traffic violation defense attorneys, the lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know that there’s far more to traffic offense cases than simply speeding and running red lights. The law, as dictated by the Florida State Statutes, is full of details about all possible incidents that might arise, especially the incidents that individuals encounter when behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

Chapter 316 of Title XXIII of the Florida State Statutes is aptly titled “State Uniform Traffic Control;” it is this chapter that spells-out the particularities of the traffic-related regulations as defined by state law. Subsection 316.1985 deals with what is known as an offense of improper backing; it is this subsection that defines the limitations on the backing-up of a vehicle.

The first clause of s. 316.1985 states that a “driver of a vehicle shall not back the same unless such movement can be made with safety and without interfering.” Basically, in plain English, this first clause stipulates that a driver of a motor vehicle is not allowed to back-up that motor vehicle unless he or she can do so in a safe manner and without interfering with other traffic—other cars in the road, other pedestrians, etc. This first clause, as the Palm Beach and Broward County traffic defense attorneys at Leifert & Leifert know, is fairly straightforward and simply puts into written law what most individuals consider to be common sense—don’t move your car in an unsafe manner. Our traffic violation defense attorneys often see these citations in traffic accident cases that arise from incidents in parking lots; for example, an individual is backing out of a parking spot and gets hit by another vehicle. The fact is that, typically, the person backing out of a parking spot has to yield to other drivers, who have the right of way. So, even if you are the one whose car is hit, if you were backing out and failing to yield to other drivers, you can be cited with improper backing.

The second clause of s. 316.1985 details a rule that is perhaps less known—a “driver of a vehicle shall not back the same upon any shoulder or roadway of any limited access facility.” This second clause stipulates that a driver of a motor vehicle in Florida cannot back-up their vehicle along either the main road or shoulder of a “limited access facility,” which is defined by s. 316.003(19) as “A street or highway especially designed for through traffic and over, from, or to which owners or occupants of abutting land or other persons have no right or easement, or only a limited right or easement, of access, light, air, or view by reason of the fact that their property abuts upon such limited access facility or for any other reason. Such highways or streets may be parkways from which trucks, buses, and other commercial vehicles are excluded; or they may be freeways open to use by all customary forms of street and highway traffic.”

The third and final clause of s. 316.1985 deals with the penalties for the infraction of violating this section. As a noncriminal traffic infraction, the offense of violating 316.1985 is punishable as provided in chapter 318, which includes penalties such as fines and community service and the possible assessment of points onto a driver’s license.

Not retaining an experienced traffic defense attorney like the Palm Beach and Broward traffic defense attorneys at Leifert & Leifert can mean a mismanaged case and far steeper penalties. Neglecting to follow-through with the prescribed penalty and neglecting to follow-up with the court as instructed can lead to a possible misdemeanor and harsher punishments. So, if you have been cited with a noncriminal traffic infraction such as improper backing, contact us for a free consultation at 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363).

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