TALLAHASSEE, FL --- Under a new Florida law that went into effect Jan. 1, drivers found to be at fault in three crashes within a 36-month period will be required to successfully complete a state-approved driver improvement course that includes behind-the-wheel training and an assessment of their driving ability. 

"In an effort to make our roads safer, those who display a pattern of poor driving ability or judgment will be required to complete a driver improvement course," said Julie L. Jones, executive director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. "The new law is designed to modify the behavior of some of our worst drivers." 

The law will count at-fault crashes as far back as 2007. The department will notify any driver who causes a crash and has at least two at-fault crashes in the preceding 36 months. The affected drivers will then be responsible for completing an approved course within 90 days in order to avoid the cancellation of their driving privilege. Each course will include a minimum of 16 hours, with four hours of behind-the-wheel training. 

During the 36-month period ending Dec. 31, 2008, there were 3,277 drivers with three or more at-fault crashes. That figure includes drivers from nearly every age group. According to department estimates, more than 1,000 Florida drivers may be subject to the new requirements during 2010.