What To Know About Driving Laws and Getting a Driver’s License in Florida
By Space Coast Daily // January 18, 2019
There are some big reasons you might be curious about driving laws in Florida, and what it’s like to drive in the state in general.
One reason? Maybe you’re the parent of a teen who’s preparing for their learner’s permit test or their driver’s license test. If you want to be supportive and help your teen along the way, it can be useful to be aware of the laws in your state.
Even though you might have been driving for years, it’s easy to forget some of the important laws, or there may be new ones you aren’t aware of.
Another reason you could be curious about driving in Florida? You could be planning a trip. The entire state is one of the world’s top tourist destinations. You may be coming from out-of-state or even out of the country, and if you’re going to be driving, you might want to know what you’re getting into.
The following are some of the things to know about driving in Florida, regardless of your specific situation.
Getting a Driver’s License in Florida
If you’re under the age of 18 or your teen is, they have to do several things to get a learner’s permit in Florida. This includes:
- Taking the Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education Course
- Taking the Road Rules and Road Signs Test either online or in person
- Completing a vision and hearing test at the DMV
Applicants must also:
- Show proof they’ve completed the Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education Course
- Bring a parental consent form
- Have proof of their identity, their address and their social security number
Florida has something called the intermediate license for teens aged 16 to 17. This requires you be at least 16 and have had a learner’s permit for at least a year without any traffic convictions.
Along with your Florida permit, to apply for your license your parent or guardian will have to attest to you having had at least 50 hours of training behind the wheel, 10 of which took place at night. You’ll also have to pass the driving test at the DMV.
Beyond that, if you’re 18 and older there are different classes of driver’s license. The most common is called Class E, and it requires proof of identity and social security number, proof of residential address, and proof that you’ve completed the Traffic Law & Substance Abuse Education Course or that you have a license from another state or county.
Florida Toll Road Laws
There are toll roads throughout much of Florida. So, you’ll either need to have what’s called a SunPass or be prepared to pay them. However, if you don’t have any cash or the toll doesn’t take cash, you can go through it. A photo of your license plate will be taken, and then you can pay that way.
If you don’t pay the invoice within ten days, you’ll have to pay fines. You may also be stopped from renewing your vehicle because of unpaid toll fees.
Cell Phones and Texting
Currently, as the law stands now in Florida, you can still talk on a cellphone and drive legally. Even so, there were an estimated 50,000 accidents in the state in 2016 because of distracted driving. Even though talking on a cell phone is technically legal, you can still be ticketed for distracted driving.
Texting is a different story. Texting and driving are illegal in Florida, and if you have two offenses within five years of one another, it is considered a moving violation. However, texting and driving is a secondary offense. That means you can only receive a ticket if you’re stopped for something else.
Legislation was recently introduced in Florida that would toughen driving laws regarding cell phone usage. Rep. Emily Slosberg introduced the “Hands-Free Florida Law.” The proposed law would prevent drivers from using wireless phones to talk if they’re hand-held. Also, under the same proposed bill, texting or talking on a handheld phone would become a primary offense rather than a secondary one.
Finally, there is something called the Move Over Act in the state of Florida. It was passed in 2002, and it requires drivers to either slow down to at least 20 miles below the speed limit or move into the next lane when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped on highways or interstates.
Those are some of the major things to keep in mind if your teen is preparing to drive in Florida or you are, and you aren’t familiar with traffic laws in the state.
CLICK HERE FOR BREVARD COUNTY NEWS