Florida’s New Auto Laws

In addition to Florida’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Law, which passed in March 2012, went into effect in January 2013, and most recently has been granted a temporary injunction against the statute by a Circuit Court Judge in Tallahassee, there are many other new laws that impact Florida drivers and visitors to the Sunshine State.

The first hiFlorida Trafficghway safety bill forces slower drivers out of the left-hand lane. The new “move over” law now allows law enforcement to ticket drivers who travel 10 miles or more under the posted maximum speed limit. The only exceptions are when the lane is used for turning or in inclement or bad weather. Tickets would cost violators $60.

Another highway safety bill involves red light cameras and right-hand turns. Florida drivers are aware of cameras catching red light runners. Drivers have complained that at many intersections across South Florida it’s tough to see oncoming traffic from the white line and often stopped on or beyond the white line. Fender-benders and rear-end collisions often occur at these intersections. An update to the law now makes it clear that drivers making a right turn on red will not get a ticket if they come to a complete stop (even if they come to stop beyond the white stop line) before turning right at the intersection.

This year, Florida also passed a motorist texting while driving ban and is the 41st state to do so. It is now unlawful for drivers to type messages using smart phones or other mobile devices while driving on all Florida’s roadways including I-95, Florida’s turnpike and A1A. Unfortunately the ban is a secondary offense meaning that law enforcement cannot pull you over unless you are caught committing another type of driving infraction like speeding, improper lane change, etc. However, this new law doesn’t apply to Florida truck drivers (busses and commercial vehicle operators) who, unlike motorists, can be stopped and fined for texting while driving. The truck drivers and their companies will both face fines and penalties for texting and driving. For initial violations, commercial drivers would pay a $500 fine and their companies a $2,750 fine. For the third violation or more, drivers would have to pay $2,750 and face a 120-day license suspension, while the companies could face up to $11,000 in fines.

The ultimate goal of these new laws is to enhance or improve driving and roadway safety and to reduce auto accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents and pedestrian accidents by keeping the flow of traffic, reducing road rage, and reducing driver distractions.

If you have or a loved one has been injured or killed as a result of an automobile accident, let us help you seek justice. Contact the attorneys of Farmer, Jaffe Weissing today.