New Florida laws for drivers, veterans and people with disabilities

On July 1, 2024, Governor Ron DeSantis signed 185 new bills into law. From harsher penalties for traffic violations to enhanced care for veterans and people with disabilities, these are the new Florida laws you need to know.

In Florida, new laws often take effect on July 1st, marking the start of the state’s fiscal year. The process begins with the Florida Legislature, composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate, which convenes annually to introduce, debate, and vote on proposed legislation. These bills address a broad spectrum of issues, including public safety, healthcare, education, and environmental protection. Once a bill is approved by both legislative chambers, it is sent to the governor, who can sign it into law.

On July 1, 2024, Governor Ron DeSantis signed 185 new bills into law. Our personal injury, disability, and workers’ compensation attorneys have reviewed the list to identify the most important laws that every Florida resident should know. Here are the new Florida laws that you need to know, categorized by traffic, disability and veteran impact.

New laws impacting Florida drivers

Our Florida car accident attorneys have identified five new laws that will impact Florida highways and drivers.

HB 1133: Vulnerable Road Users

House Bill 1133 updates state statutes related to traffic infractions involving “vulnerable road users.” Vulnerable road users include pedestrians working or providing emergency services along highways, lawful operators of bicycles, e-bikes, motorcycles, scooters, or mopeds, individuals riding animals, and those operating tractors, skateboards, skates, electric personal assistive mobility devices, or wheelchairs on public rights-of-way, crosswalks, or shoulders. The law now imposes heavier fines and potential license suspensions for individuals who commit non-criminal traffic infractions that result in serious injury or death to a vulnerable road user.

HB 1363: Traffic Enforcement with Red Light Cameras

House Bill 1363 adds new requirements to the state statutes permitting the use of red light cameras. Counties must now pass ordinances authorizing red light camera installations and report annually on the performance of these traffic infraction detectors at public meetings.

Florida Statute 316.0083, also known as the “Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act” enacted in 2010, allows local governments to use red light cameras to enforce traffic laws. Violations caught by these cameras result in a Notice of Violation sent to the vehicle’s registered owner, with a typical fine of $158. Failure to pay can lead to a Uniform Traffic Citation, increasing the fine and potentially adding points to the driver’s license.

HB 1589: Driving Without a Valid Driver’s License

House Bill 1589 increases penalties for driving without a valid driver’s license. The new law stipulates a mandatory minimum jail sentence for third or subsequent convictions of this offense. The penalties are as follows:

  • Second-degree misdemeanor for a first conviction
  • First-degree misdemeanor for a second conviction
  • First-degree misdemeanor with a 10-day jail sentence for a third or subsequent conviction

SB 1765: Highway Racing

Senate Bill 1765 enacts stricter penalties for highway racing. Those involved in a “coordinated street takeover,” where multiple cars race, can face third-degree felony charges and substantial fines. Interfering with an emergency vehicle during such events also constitutes a third-degree felony, carrying a $4,000 fine and a five-year prison sentence. Spectators at these events can also be fined. Highway racing is a growing issue in Tampa and Central Florida, with over 9,200 citations issued for street racing or stunt driving between 2018 and 2023, some resulting in fatal crashes.

HB 271: Parking on Private Property

House Bill 271 sets new regulations for private parking facilities. These facilities must clearly display their rules and rates at the entrance of their lots and provide a 15-minute grace period for drivers who enter but do not park. This law restricts the ability of companies or property owners to tow vehicles unless proper signage is posted.

New laws impacting people with disabilities

Our Florida Social Security disability lawyers have identified three new Florida laws that will impact people with disabilities.

SB 832: Employing People with Disabilities

Senate Bill 832 enhances the state’s Employment First Act to help people with disabilities in Florida gain meaningful employment. The Act provides the resources needed to help people with disabilities find and retain jobs within the community.

SB 1380: Disability Transportation Services

Senate Bill 1380 is a new law that provides special transportation services for people with disabilities. The law revises the duties of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to provide services that offer pre-booking and on-demand booking, specific technology-based ride booking and vehicle tracking services in accessible formats, and training of drivers to better serve riders.

SB 1758: People With Disabilities

Senate Bill 1758 amends state statutes regarding the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD). Under this law, the APD will be required to offer care-navigation services to clients and caregivers, including the creation of care plans. In addition, the law modifies the application process for APD services to streamline eligibility timeframes.

New laws impacting veterans

Our Florida veteran’s disability lawyers have identified three new laws that impact service men and women.

HB 725: Veterans’ Long-Term Care

House Bill 725 expands the eligibility for residency at a state veteran’s home to include the veteran’s spouse or the surviving spouse of a qualified veteran.

HB 1329: Veteran Employment Outreach Services

House Bill 1329 creates the Major John Leroy Haynes Florida Veterans’ History Program within the Department of State’s Division of Arts and Culture. The law expands the employment outreach services of Veterans Florida, as well as exempt certain disabled veterans from having to pay fees related to hunting and fishing licenses.

HB 357: Veterans Appreciation Month

House Bill 357 replaces “Veterans Week,” instead designating the entirety of November as “Veterans Appreciation Month.”

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