Safety Laws in FloridaPage Overview
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) has safety laws and guidelines in place to keep drivers and pedestrians safe on the road. Safety laws cover everything from child car seats, seat belts, drunk driving, and helmets.
Make sure you follow the rules to keep yourself and others safe, and avoid receiving a fine, license suspension, or even jail time.
It is also important to know that, if you receive a citation, additional county penalties may be added on top of state fines. Check with your county clerk for additional fines and fees.
It is the responsibility of the supervising adult to ensure that any child under 7 years old is seated in a federally-approved child car seat. Failure to do so could result in a $60 fine and 3 points against your driver's license.
Florida law states:
- Children 7 years old or younger must be secured in a federally approved child restraint system.
- Children 3 years old and younger must use a separate car-seat or the vehicle's built-in child seat.
- Children 4 to 7 years old and less than 4 ft 9 inches tall, must sit in either a separate car seat or a built in child seat.
Use the following car seat guidelines from the FLHSMV while driving with a child in your vehicle.
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- Birth â€“ 1 year old and at least 20 lbs.
- Use a rear-facing child car seat in the back seat of the car.
- 1 year old and 20 lbs. – 4 years old and 40 lbs.
- Use a rear-facing child car seat in the back seat until they outgrow the weight and height limit of the child car seat.
- Normally when children are over 1 year old and weigh over 20 pounds, you can switch to a forward-facing car seat in the back of the car.
- 4 years old and 40 lbs. – 8 years old or 4'9" tall
- Use a forward-facing child seat in the back seat until they reach the weight and height limits recommended by the manufacturer.
- Switch to a booster seat in the back of the car.
- 8 years old or 4'9" tall –12 years old
- Use a booster seat in the back seat until your child is big enough to use the car's seat belt. The minimum age to use a regular seat belt is 5 years old and must meet these requirements:
- Child is at least 4 ft 9 inches tall.
- The child's knees bend over the seat edge when they are sitting with their back against the seat.
- The shoulder portion of the seat belt does not go over their neck; it lays across their chest.
- The belt portion goes over the thighs and not across the stomach.
- At 13 years old, your child can sit in the front seat of your car.
- The driver of the vehicle.
- A front seat passenger of any age.
- Under 18 years old.
- Have a medical condition preventing the use of a seat belt due to safety hazards.
- Are delivering newspapers as part of a home delivery service.
- Are working in a waste and recyclables collection service.
Motorcycle and Moped Helmet LawsIn Florida, you must wear a federally-approved helmet while riding a motorcycle unless you are over 21 years old and covered by at least $10,000 in medical insurance for motorcycle related injuries. If you are under 16 years old you must wear a helmet while riding a moped. Failure to wear an appropriate helmet could result in a fines from the Florida DHSMV. It is recommended that you wear a helmet at all times while riding a motorcycle or moped to avoid any serious head injuries in the event of an accident.
Bicycle Helmet LawsIf you are under 16 years old, you must wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet that meets national standards. This also applies to child passengers riding in a trailer or semitrailer attached to the bicycle. You risk a fine of $15 if you do not wear a helmet while riding a bicycle in Florida.
- $500–$2,000 fine depending on your blood alcohol level and whether a minor was in your vehicle at the time of the offense.
- 50 hours of community service or an additional $10 fine for each hour of mandatory community service.
- Probationary period of up to 1 year.
- Up to 9 months imprisonment depending on your blood alcohol level.
- 10 days impoundment of your vehicle.
- Suspension of your driver's license for 180 days–1 year.
Report a Drunk or Dangerous DriverIf you see someone whom you suspect is driving while intoxicated, notify your local authorities immediately. Some typical signs of someone who is drunk driving include:
- Problems staying in their lane, and/or weaving and swerving across lanes.
- Braking too early and having problems driving the speed limit.
- Delayed or no reaction to traffic signals and other hazards.
- Poor judgment and unusual behavior.
- Drug and alcohol addiction.
- Seizure disorders.
- Severe psychiatric disorders.
- Visual impairments.
- Sleep disorders.
- Severe cardiovascular impairments.
- Memory or judgment problems.
- Severe head injuries.
- If the vehicle is running and the child's health is in danger, you can be fined $50–$500 by leaving a child unattended for any period of time.
- If the vehicle is not running and the child is not in any danger, you may only leave your child unattended for up to 15 minutes or risk being fined up to $100.
Headlights on Cars and MotorcyclesAll motor vehicles in Florida must have 2 headlights in good working order that shine a white light. The headlights must not be covered or altered in any way. You must turn your car headlights on between the hours of sunset and sunrise, or when visibility is insufficient due to lighting or weather conditions. Failure to use approved headlights could result in being cited for a moving violation, the fine for which varies based upon frequency and severity – up to a maximum of $500. You must have your headlights on at all times while riding a motorcycle, even during the day. For tips on safe driving at night, visit our page on Night Driving.
Bicycle HeadlightsIf you are riding your bicycle between sunset and sunrise, you must use the following lights on your bike or risk a $15 fine:
- A white lamp on the front, visible from at least 500 feet.
- A red reflector on the back, visible from at least 600 feet.
Reckless and Careless BoatingIn Florida, you can be imprisoned and fined for reckless or careless operation of a boating vessel. The imprisonment and fines become stricter if anyone is injured. It is illegal to operate any vessel in a way that is likely to endanger other people or property, including:
- Staying within the posted speed and wake limits.
- Being aware of other waterborne traffic.
- Complying with navigation rules.
Boating Under the InfluenceYou can be found guilty of boating under the influence in Florida if your blood alcohol level (BAC) is .08% or higher. You risk the following penalties:
- First offense: $500–$1,000 fine and up to 6 months imprisonment.
- Second offense: $1,000Â–$2,000 fine and up to 9 months imprisonment.
- Monthly reporting probation.
- Attendance at a substance abuse course.
- Psychosocial evaluation and treatment.
- Mandatory community service for at least 50 hours.
- Suspension from operating any vessel.
- Successful completion of an approved boating safety course.
- Traffic Alerts
- 511 Traffic Systems
- Tire Recalls
- Safety Laws
- How Emotions Affect Driving
- Driving in Hazardous Conditions
- Teen Drivers: A Beginner's Guide
- Seniors: When To Turn Over The Car Keys
- Packing Your First-Aid Kit
- Seven Senior Safety Suggestions
- Wildlife on the Road
- When to Call Wildlife Rescue
- Taking A Mature Driver Course
- Medications & Driving
- Night Driving
- Hallucinations on the Road
- How To Drive Distraction Free
- Road Rage: How To Deal With It
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