Why did the turtle cross the road? Who knows, but the turtle probably wasn’t intending to cause a multi-vehicle accident on Florida Route 331. Motive aside, that’s exactly what happened. And, while the turtle may be primarily at fault, turtles are what we call judgment-proof. Thus, in an accident like this, it begs the question of which driver was at fault.
According to a local news report, the accident occurred on Florida Route 331 as the driver of a black pickup truck noticed a small turtle crossing the road. Thinking they were doing the right thing, the driver stopped in the middle of the road to allow the turtle to pass. Not surprisingly, as cars approached from behind, drivers had to slam on their brakes or swerve out of the way to avoid a rear-end collision. However, an approaching semi-truck was unable to come to a complete stop in time and rammed into the back of the black pickup truck as well as at least one other vehicle. The incapacitated semi-truck then ended up coming to a stop in the lane of oncoming traffic.
Legal Analysis of the Accident
This accident raises two different issues, both of which relate to how Florida courts determine which driver was at fault for an accident. The first is the concept that drivers who rear-end another motorist are presumed to be at fault. This presumption applies because most rear-end accidents are the result of a driver following too closely or being distracted. However, the presumption can be rebutted, for example, in situations where a driver’s tail lights are out so motorists behind them can’t see if they are braking.