2013 Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle provisions effective 1/1/2013:
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles department has made numerous changes to the motor vehicle laws here in Florida which took effect on January 1, 2013.
The following is just a brief summary on a few of the changes.
Red Light Camera Violations:
Although the need may not be common, a provision was added to provide an additional exemption for red light camera violations in situations where "the motor vehicle's owner was deceased on or before the date the uniformed traffic citation was issued, as established by an affidavit submitted by the representative of the motor vehicle owner's estate or other designated person or family member."
Accompanying the bill is additional information for completing the affidavit.
Impaired Mobility and Public Roads:
Anyone who operates a motorized wheelchair on a sidewalk may now attempt to avoid a potential conflict by temporarily leaving the sidewalk and using the roadways - if no alternative route exists. However, verbal warnings are still able to be issued by law enforcement when deemed appropriate.
An existing provision which prohibited school buses from exceeding 55 mph has been lifted with a new requirement that school buses must obey the posted speed limit instead.
Effective October 1, 2012, helmets must be in compliance with the federal safety standard for bicycle helmets contained in 16 C.F.R., part 1203. Any helmets purchased prior to October 1, 2012 may still be worn legally by riders or passengers until January 1, 2016 as long as they were in compliance with the existing statutory standards.
In situations where a bicyclist faces threat of a potential conflict on the roadway, they are now permitted to leave the marked bicycle lane (in situations where the roadway is marked for bicycle use) and they are also permitted to travel away from the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. A bicyclist is now also permitted to leave their space to avoid conflicts in turn lanes.
Additionally, law enforcement is now permitted to issue verbal warnings and brochures on bicycle safety in lieu of issuing citations.
It is no longer illegal to warn other drivers of speedtraps by flashing your headlights. This was in response to the need for clarification after a judge ruled that some law enforcement agencies were misinterpreting a law that does not allow drivers to put flashing lights on their vehicles.
A motorist is permitted to intermittently flash his or her vehicle's headlamps at an oncoming vehicle notwithstanding the motorist's intent for doing so.
Deliberate acts to conceal or obscure the license tag on motorcycles or mopeds is prohibited. License tags must remain clearly visible from the rear at all times.
The requirement for vertically affixed tags to maintain a prepaid account and transponder has been lifted, but any required toll must be paid by the owner or operator by whatever means possible.
Motor Vehicle Violations Involving an Accident:
Drivers convicted of motor vehicle violations which resulted in an accident may have their driving privileges suspended or revoked by the court.
A uniform standard for requesting hearings with the clerks of court has been adopted for situations where a person has been charged with a traffic infraction. A hearing may now be requested within 180 days after the violation date regardless of any action taken by the court or the department to suspend the driving privilege of the defendant. The clerk must set the case for hearing upon request.
Lost or Missing Vehicle Titles:
In the event that a motor vehicle title assigning the prior owner's interest cannot be located and provided to the motor vehicle department, a bond or affidavit may now be accepted provided it includes verification of the VIN as well as an application for title.
Changes related to Military Personnel:
Active duty military members who are Florida residents are exempt from the requirement to provide a residential address in Florida when completing a vehicle registration application.
Special use plates for Vietnam War Veterans and recipients of the Combat Infantry Badge are now available.
Automatic extensions on the expiration of a Class E license while military personnel are on active duty shall be granted.
Remember, this is only a summary. Read the entire summary of HB 1223 - Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles here. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your rights and current law regarding traffic violations in Florida, or if you need a Tampa Traffic Violation Attorney, call us today at 813-489-3222 for a FREE consultation.