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Florida Traffic Laws Reference Guide



Whether you're brand new to the state of Florida or a long-time resident, the traffic laws and road rules can be confusing to anyone. From moving violations and the Florida point system to seat belt and slow speed laws, drivers have a lot that they need to subconsciously remember each time they get behind the wheel. Here is a helpful guide containing the most prevalent Florida traffic laws to get you familiar with everything you should know before you drive in the state.

Moving to Florida
If you're a brand new resident, or you're looking to move to the Sunshine State soon, you'll need to get your car registered before you can legally drive in the state. You may be able to transfer your out-of-state driver's license without retaking any written or driving skills exams, as long as your license is not expired and you also bring a secondary form of identification for confirmation.

You'll need to register your vehicle within 10 days of employment or establishing Florida residency. To register your car, you'll first need to obtain Florida auto insurance. You will then need to bring to the DHSMV:
  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of insurance
  • Your original out-of-state title
  • A completed inspection form (on-site inspections can be done the same day)
If you purchased your car out of state 6 months or more prior to moving to Florida, you won't have to worry about any sales taxes or surcharges. If your out-of-state vehicle is newer than 6 months old, you'll need to pay the full Florida 6% sales tax. However, this amount will be offset by the sales tax you paid in the jurisdiction where you purchased your car - so if you paid 3% in your home state, you will only owe Florida the remaining 3%.

Florida Traffic Rules

Aside from the basic laws that we're all familiar with (obeying posted speed limits, observing stop signs and red lights, wearing your seat belt at all times), there are other road rules that aren't necessarily written into law, but should always be observed. For instance, while a certain speed limit may be posted, drivers should also take into account the weather that they are driving through, and should never drive faster than conditions allow, regardless of the speed on the highway sign. Similarly, Florida has a "Slow Down and Move Over" law regarding emergency vehicles. The law states that as you approach and pass all emergency vehicles on the side of the road, you are to move out of the lane closest to it (providing that the road has 2 or more lanes in your direction) and slow your speed to 20 MPH less than the posted speed limit. This helps prevent accidents and injuries to passengers and vehicles on the side of the road. Failure to comply with the Slow Down and Move Over law will result in a $120 fine and 3 points assessed to your driver's license.

The Florida Point System

A traffic conviction in Florida will carry with it a certain value of points that will stay on your driving record for 3 years. Non-moving violations do not carry any points; you will only be responsible for the fine involved. For moving violations, the number of points you receive is directly related to the severity of the infraction. Some common traffic violations include:

  • Speeding 15 MPH or less over the limit - 3 points
  • Speeding 15 MPH or more over the limit - 4 points
  • Passing a stopped school bus - 4 points
  • Reckless driving - 4 points
  • Violation of child restraint laws - 3 points
If you accumulate 12 points within a 12-month period, your license will be suspended for no less than 30 days. That sentence extends to 3 months once 18 points are reached within a year and a half and a full year of suspended privileges if you accumulate 24 points within a 3-year period.

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