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Safety Laws in Florida

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.

FL Seat Belt Laws

In Florida, you are required to wear a safety belt in a passenger vehicle if you are:

  • The vehicle's driver.
  • Under the age of 18 years old.
    • Drivers may be ticketed for minors inside the vehicle not wearing a safety belt.
  • Sitting in a passenger seat in the front of the vehicle, regardless of age.

Failure to wear a seat belt could result in a fine of $30 plus any other associated legal fees and additional fees.

If a medical condition prevents the use of a safety belt, you must be able to produce proper documentation from a physician.

Be aware that Florida's safety belt law is a primary law—this allows police officers to stop a vehicle and issue a citation for any observed violations.

Florida Child Car Seat Laws

It is the responsibility of the supervising adult to ensure that any child under 5 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 5 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 through 5 years must sit in either a separate car seat, a built in child seat or a seat belt, depending on the child's height and weight.
  • Children 6 through 17 years old must be in a seatbelt.

Though not required, the DHSMV recommends children 12 years old and under to ride in the back seat of the vehicle when possible. This is due to safety concerns for air bag deployment, which can be dangerous for young children.

For more information on child safety seats and restraints, please visit the DHSMV guide to vehicle and child safety.

Cell Phones & Driving

Current Florida laws restrict some uses of wireless communication devices while operating a vehicle.

These include:

  • Texting or typing on any handheld wireless communication device.
  • Reading data on a wireless communication device.

Exceptions to this rule include:

  • Using the device to report an emergency.
  • Receiving navigation information.
  • Receiving traffic data or weather alerts.

Interpersonal communication such as voice calls are not currently prohibited by law within the state. However, speaking on the phone qualifies as one of the three main types of distractions that lead to fatalities behind the wheel. For more information, visit our guide to distracted driving.

Window Tinting in FL

While the use of sun-screening materials on side and rear-facing windows is not prohibited, there are certain restrictions.

According to Florida law, window tint must NOT:

  • Have the effect of making a window nontransparent.
  • Alter the color.
  • Increase reflectivity.

Authorized guidelines for window tinting are as follows:

  • For side windows:
    • A solar reflectance of 25% or less on the non-film side.
    • A light transmittance of 28% or more.
  • For rear-facing windows:
    • A solar reflectance of 35% or less on the non-film side.
    • A light transmittance of 15% or more.

Violations to these laws are noncriminal, but may result in a fine. Certain medical conditions such as lupus or other autoimmune disorders which require limited exposure to sunlight could be reason for exemption with proper medical documentation.

Unattended Children & Pets

Children and pets left in unattended vehicles are highly vulnerable to dangerous temperatures during the warmer months of the year.

To prevent heat stroke or other fatal outcomes, it's against Florida law to leave a child under 6 years old in an unattended vehicle for more than 15 minutes. Punishment for breaking this law is a second degree misdemeanor.

While there are no current state laws to protect animals, some local governments have laws against animal neglect.

EXAMPLE:

In Orange County, Florida, you may be subject to fines or other penalties if:

  • You fail to provide your pet with adequate ventilation or protection from the elements.
  • You risk the animal's health and well-being.

The interpretation and regulation of these laws is left up to each municipality. For more information on animal laws and safety for motor vehicles, please contact your local government officials.

Motorcycle, Bicycle & Moped Helmets

For individuals riding motorcycles, mopeds, or bicycles in Florida, you may be required to use a helmet depending upon your age.

For the described modes of transportation, current Florida laws are as follows:

  • Motorcycles:
    • You must wear a federally-approved helmet UNLESS you are:
      • Over 21 years old.
        AND
      • Covered by at least $10,000 in medical insurance for motorcycle-related injuries.
  • Mopeds:
    • Riders under 16 years old are required to wear a helmet.
  • Bicycles:
    • All riders under 16 years old must wear protective headgear while riding.

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