New Traffic Laws Mean Tougher Penalties, Higher Fines

Several new traffic laws take effect next week with your safety in mind. The laws toughen penalties and raise fines for a number of motor vehicle violations, and some motorists are saying it’s about time.

Being inconsiderate or careless behind the wheel could soon cost you more cash. Starting July 1, you can be ticketed if you don’t use a turn indicator when you pass another car or change lanes.

Motorist Beth Haynes says that’s smart.

“I think it will cut down on a lot of the wrecks, you know? People weave in and out of traffic.”

Another change requires you to go at least 50 miles an hour on the highway instead of the old 40 or 45.

Driver George Paramore says it’s high time. He says slow drivers put others on the highway at risk.

“People shouldn’t drag around out there. That’s the way people get rear-ended, accidents, people get killed.”

Police will also be able to pull you over if anyone in the car under 18 is not wearing a seat belt.

“The key to these new laws making a difference is motorists knowing about the changes. Like any law, people won’t follow it if they haven’t heard about it.

The Florida Highway Patrol hopes all the media attention will help get the word out, especially about the new law taking effect in October that more than doubles the minimum fine for running red lights.

Capt. Ken Howes of the FHP says publicity is the key.

“Hundreds of people are killed and thousands are seriously injured every year as a result of traffic crashes caused when people run red lights, so it’s an important law. Again, we need to publicize that and hopefully the extra fine will be a deterrent.”

More than 3,000 people die on Florida’s roads every year. Lawmakers hope the new rules will save at least some of those lives.

Another new law taking effect July 1 allows you to use a custom frame for your license plate, as long as the plate number, state and registration sticker are not blocked.