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Florida Car Registration and Licensing Guide

June 11, 2014

Florida Driver’s Guide

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Need information about driving in Florida? Compare.com can help. Here’s everything Florida residents need to know, including information on car insurance discounts, licensing and insurance options, Florida’s minimum insurance requirements and other useful insurance information.

Florida License Requirements

To obtain a Florida driver’s license, applicants must present required identification documents, pay the fees, pass vision and hearing tests, a written test about road signs and road rules, and a driving test.  You can find out which documents you need via Florida’s GatherGoGet site.

Drivers under the age of 18 have a system of graduated steps on their way to full licensure. At 15, the minor can obtain a learner’s permit with parental consent, proper identification, passing a knowledge test, taking a vision and hearing test, and completing a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education course.  After fifty hours of ticket-free behind the wheel time, and a year with the learner’s permit, the driver can get an intermediate license.  This includes curfew and other restrictions.  At 18, the driver is eligible for a full license.

Beyond the standard driver’s license, Florida also offers commercial, hazardous materials, and motorcycle licenses.  Learn more about Florida driver’s licenses at Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website.

Keeping your Florida License

As with any other locality, drivers in Florida are expected to follow the laws of the state.  Since laws can vary widely among the fifty states, we’ve provided a handy primer for the relevant Florida statutes.

Seat belt laws

A police officer can stop you in Florida if you’re not wearing your seatbelt.  Additionally, if you’ve got someone between the ages of 6 and 17 in the front seat (or younger than 6 in the backseat) you may be responsible for them as well.  A ticket will cost you $30.

Distracted driving laws

Texting and driving is banned in Florida, but only as a secondary offense.  That means that if you aren’t doing something otherwise illegal (speeding, running red lights, etc.) you can’t be pulled over.

Negligence standards

In a negligence lawsuit, Florida uses a pure comparative negligence standard. This means that a plaintiff may recover from a negligent defendant as long as that defendant was partially at fault.  The plaintiff can only recover damages in proportion to the defendant’s fault, but there are no bars to recovery.

I-95 in Florida

Interstate 95 runs from Miami, Florida, to Portland, Maine.  The highway is notorious for its heavy traffic.  If you want to keep ahead of that traffic, check out our I-95 Traffic Radio Guide.

Florida Driver Resources

General questions may be answered by the Vehicle Insurance FAQ provided by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

You can check on the status of your insurance, renew your license, and perform other tasks at the Florida Department of Highway Safety website.

Better Business Bureau websites for West Palm Beach, Central Florida, and West Florida allow consumers to file a report if they’re having trouble with their insurance company.

Safety Facts

The Florida Transportation Commission releases a report summarizing the state’s accidents, fatalities, and trends.  The report offers some interesting and potentially useful information, and highlights the importance of having up-to-date and comprehensive car insurance. Some interesting facts included in this data:

  • Florida traffic fatalities decreased from 2,563 in 2009 to 2,444 in 2010.
  • Florida reported 51 fatalities due to aggressive driving in 2010.
  • Approximately 87 percent of Florida drivers and passengers use seatbelts.
  • In 2010, alcohol was involved in one-third of fatal crashes.

Visiting Florida?

If you love watching, driving, or admiring fast cars, Florida is the place to be.

  • Florida is home to the Daytona 500, also called the “Great American Race.”  It is the biggest NASCAR race of the year.
  • Miami Exotic Auto Racing gives its customers the chance to race Ferraris, Lamborghinis and other exotic cars at speeds more than 135 mph.
  • The Sarasota Classic Car Museum includes John Lennon’s 1965 Mercedes-Benz and Paul McCartney’s Mini Cooper among the gems in its collection.
  • Muscle Car City in Punta Gorda displays more than 200 muscle cars, dating from the 1950s to the early 1970s.
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