Author: Patricia S

What You Need to Know About Changes to Florida Driving Laws

What You Need to Know About Changes to Florida Driving Laws

In 2018, Florida legislatures made updates that impact drivers and vehicle owners throughout the state. Some have been in effect for months, others have just or will soon be in effect. Here is what you need to know about changes to laws affecting Florida drivers by land and sea.

Wireless Communication Devices Prohibition

In what would could be described as the legislative updates that affect more Florida drivers than any other bill in 2018, statue 316.05 now includes a “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law” section after several bill proposals and revisions.

In summary, typing (texting, emailing, instant-messaging. etc) on a device or reading messages from a device while driving is against the law as of October 1st, 2018. Violators will be ticketed with penalties that escalate for multiple offenses within a 5 year period.

Safety advocates pushed to also change texting while driving to a primary offense. That effort failed (for now) and texting while driving is considered a secondary offense which means that an officer can only pull you over if they see you commit a different driving infraction such as running a red light. Florida joined 40 other states with bans on texting while driving.

Autocycles and Mobile Carriers – House Bill 215

This bill took affect on July 1, 2018 and defines what autocycles and mobile carriers are which helps further define things like how they are taxed and where and how they should be operated.

An autocycle is a vehicle that’s not a tractor and has:

  • Three wheels
  • A steering wheel
  • A seat that does not require the rider to sit astride or straddle the seat.

The bill goes on to define some vehicle operating rules for autocycles:

  • Occupants must wear seat belts
  • Drivers do not have to have a motorcycle license

A mobile carrier does not need to be insured or registered because it is not considered a:

  • Vehicle
  • Motor vehicle
  • Personal delivery device

The bill goes on to define some vehicle operating rules for mobile carriers:

  • Can be operated on sidewalks and in crosswalks which means they (or their operators) have the same rights as all pedestrians and all traffic and pedestrian control signals must be obeyed.
  • Must be equipped with a braking system that allows the mobile carrier to come to a controlled stop.
  • May not transport hazardous materials, animals, or other persons with the later referring to mobile carriers being used as taxi’s.

HB 215  goes on to discuss more detail about mobile carriers as well as outlining some prohibitions for local government on use of existing transportation facility or corridors.

House Bill 1211 – Ellie’s Law

The emergence of the bill is tied to the tragic death of Elizabeth “Ellie” Goldenberg in May 2017. She and her family were on an airboat ride in the Everglades when a collision with broken down airboat resulted in her being ejected and pinned face down in shallow water where she drowned.

Her death prompted a further look into the lack of regulation on the operation of air boats for hire. The following  regulatory measures will take effect on July 1, 2019 as per HB 1211. It requires any person operating an airboat to carry passengers for hire to have all of the following:

  • A picture ID
  • Proof of successful completion of a boating safety education class
  • Proof of completion of a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid course
  • Proof of successful completion of an approved airboat operator course meeting the minimum standards established by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). 
  • Proof of a valid captain’s license

Violators will be committing a second degree misdemeanor, which is punishable with a 60 day prison sentence or a $500 fine. 

Additionally for the FWC but unrelated to this bill, Florida legislatures passed senate bill 1132 effective January 1, 2019 which updates term minimum (1 year) and maximum (5 years) for vessel safety decals among other things.

Other bills that affect drivers and vehicle owners include:

  • Bill 135 which took affect on October 1st, 2018 and requires to DHSMV to update their vehicle registration application to include language that allows deaf or hard of hearing applicant to indicate voluntarily that they are such.
  • Bill 1361 which takes effect on July 1, 2019 and, among other things, provides some much welcome convenience for driving school students. It will require driver improvement schools to digitally transmit certificates to the Clerk of Courts within 2 days of successful completion which eliminates the need for driving school students to do it.

Safe commuting, Floridians!

How To Quickly Get A Duplicate Title In Florida

How To Quickly Get A Duplicate Title In Florida

A vehicle title, also known as certificate of title or pink slip, is a legal document that establishes a person or business as the legal owner of a vehicle. It is a document of vital importance issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in your local state and should be kept in a secure and safe place.

If the document becomes lost, it is important to obtain a duplicate title. The duplicate title invalidates the lost title. It is also recommended that a police report be filed if the title was stolen to avoid fraud and further theft.

How Do I Get a Duplicate Car Title in Florida?

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) maintains titles in one of two status: paper or electronic.

An electronic title is one that is held electronically. It cannot be lost or stolen becuase it does not exist in paper form. It is usually new vehicles that are financed which have electronic titles. Once the loan is paid off, the title can remain electronic. You might have an electronic title and only need to have it printed should you need to transfer ownership of the vehicle.

Paper titles are, you guessed it, held in paper form by the vehicle owner or lien holder. These can become lost, stolen, or damaged and must be replaced in those instances. 

Here is how you can have your electronic title printed or replace your paper title by ordering a duplicate:

Online Duplicate Title Applications

If your title is electronically held, you can put in a request that it be printed and mailed to you by visiting the state website or via eTags.com which provides a duplicate title service with additional benefits overing ordering with the state for an additional fee.  Here are some important things to note:

  • The state website will only process requests to print and mail an electronically held title.  eTags can handle both requests (print an electronically held title or duplicate a paper title) but identification must be emailed or uploaded via the provided upload page. eTags also accepts mail or faxed copies.
  • Shipping varies depending on what website you order from. The state website indicates a shipping time between 7 to 10 days for electronic titles being printed and mailed. eTags services provide fast processing and shipping for any title but identification must be received promptly. A priority ship option can be added for an additional fee.
  • If using the state website to print and mail an electronically held title, the title will be shipped to the current address on the DMV record. eTags can mail your title, after printing an electronically held one or duplicating a paper one, to any address but a document such as proof of residence or notarized may be requested.

In-Person Duplicate Title Applications

Typically, vehicle owners or representatives of a vehicle owned by a business can go to their local tax collector’s office or a private tag office to handle vehicle-related transactions including requesting a duplicate title or printing of an electronically held title.

It is important to note that Florida identifies “Fast Title” as an additional service. If you request a title in person without the additional Fast Title service, the office you visit will submit your application and the title will arrive to you in the mail. With the additional Fast Title service, they will process your application and hand you the title the same day. Not all offices offer Fast Title so be sure to call ahead to confirm if you want that additional service.

As for in-person visits, you must submit the following items to the clerk:

  • If your title is a paper title that was lost, stolen, or damaged, a completed HSMV 82101 form. If you are requesting that your electronic title be printed, the office will provide an authorization form which varies by county.
  • Proof of identity –  You can bring your driver’s license, ID card, or passport for this.
  • Proper payment of fees. We recommend contacting the office you plan on visiting to confirm the payment types they accept and booking an appointment.

Note that your fees are also contingent to the county where you live. Many counties in Florida charge an additional fee which is added to the required state fee to print or duplicate a title. 

Applying for a Duplicate Car Title by Mail

If you are planning on applying for a duplicate by mail, you will need to gather your completed Form HSMV 82101 and submit it to the mailing address of your local tax collector’s office. The title will mailed to the current address on your DMV record. 

What if There is a Lien on the Vehicle?

A lien is placed on a vehicle when a creditor or other party with interest requests a lien be placed on the vehicle. This essentially prevents the vehicle from being sold until the lien is satisfied (or else the lien holder takes possession of the vehicle).

If the lien is not satisfied (paid or resolved with the lien holder), the title must be requested by the lien holder. If the lien is satisfied, the lien can be removed by submitting the additional HSMV 82666 form along with other required documents and proof of lien satisfaction (such as a payment receipt) in person.