With the start of the new year, come some new laws taking effect in Florida. Here is what you need to know.
Texting and Driving
“While many drivers admit to using a cell phone while driving, most agree it is safer to eliminate the practice,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of Great Florida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent auto insurance agency.
A new law strengthens the ban on texting and driving. Drivers must go completely hands-free when driving through school crossings, school zones and active work zones. The offense is now considered a primary offense meaning law enforcement can pull you over if they see you on the phone. Using devices while driving in these zones will get you a moving violation ($60 base) and three points on your driver’s license.
The National Safety Council reports a percent decrease in drivers using cell phones since last year. Statewide bans are believed to have helped this number go down in recent years.
Law Enforcement Animals
A new law provides greater protection for police and fire department animals. Anyone who kills or severely injures a police, fire or search-and-rescue dog or police horse, will be charged with a second-degree felony. This increases the amount of possible prison time from 5 to 15 years.
The American Kennel Club (AKC), reports police dogs assist law enforcement in most commonly, apprehension. But law enforcement dogs are also used with detection as well as search and rescue.
“Hazing used to be considered harmless activities for initiation into a group, but kids are taking it to far,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of Great Florida Insurance, Florida’s top independent auto insurance agency.
This new anti-hazing law expands punishment beyond the person who conducts the hazing. Third-degree felony charges can be brought against individuals who help coordinate or solicit others during a hazing act where the victim is permanently injured or dies. The law also offers immunity for those who call 911 or campus security for medical help during a hazing incident.
These new laws should help better protect our communities and eliminate abuses, providing an increase in overall safety.
GreatFlorida Insurance wants to wish you a Joyful Holiday and Happy New Year.