By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
Commuting on Florida's highways often feels like bumper cars with Ferrari engines. So what would happen if those heavy-footed douches no longer faced the specter of speeding tickets?
Thanks to a couple of enterprising young entrepreneurs, we might just find out.
Indian River County's Ian Sidles, age 25, and Dustin Boring, 30, incorporated Pre-Paid Auto Club in August. The company provides "speeding insurance." Pay dues starting at $9.99 a month, and when you receive a moving violation, the club takes care of associated fines, traffic school costs, and legal fees.
It's like the Hair Club for Men. Sidles and Boring are not only presidents of the firm, but they'd also make good clients. Sidles says epiphany struck when he was nailed for speeding twice in a week. He says he was wrongly accused of blasting his Dodge Charger past a police radar gun at 90 mph in a 70 mph zone. (Besides two speeding tickets in Vero Beach, Sidles's driving record also includes operating a vehicle without a valid registration and not wearing a seat belt.) "I told Dustin: 'Dude, there should be insurance for this kind of thing,'" says Sidles, an IT guy who declined to name his regular employer because they don't know about his new business.
His partner, Boring, is also the founder of iLoveDrinks.com, LLC, according to state corporation records.
Their speeding-insurance business model works like this: "Basic" members are allowed to submit claims every 60 days, there's no limit for "premium" members, and the company won't reimburse tickets for zooming more than 19 mph over the limit or violations in a school zone. "We don't want to encourage bad driving," Sidles explains. "But people make mistakes. We just want to take some of the burden off of drivers."
When we talked to Sidles last week, he told us the firm only recently began operating and has just two members. But the novel concept has many more fans — 1,774 on Facebook, to be exact.
Don't count former Florida Highway Patrol spokesman and trooper Pat Santangelo among them. One thing the Pre-Paid Auto Club can't do anything about: expensive points on a driver's record. "Unless they're taking care of those points, you're wasting your money," Santangelo, who's now a spokesman for Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, grumbles when told of the concept. "Nice try, though."