Florida

Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV)
Neil Kirkman Building
2900 Apalachee Parkway
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0500
(850) 617-2000 | www.hsmv.state.fl.us

Florida Highway Patrol
Neil Kirkman Building
2900 Apalachee Parkway
Tallahassee, FL 32399
(850) 617-2301 | www.fhp.state.fl.us

Florida Department of Transportation
605 Suwannee Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0450
(850) 414-4100 | www.dot.state.fl.us

Title Application

Application for a certificate of title shall be made upon a form prescribed by the FLHSMV and shall include the applicant’s full name, date of birth, sex, personal identification number, and the license plate number of the vehicle to be titled.

The application shall also indicate if the motor vehicle is to be used as a taxicab, police vehicle, or if it is a rebuilt vehicle.

If a certificate of title has not previously been issued for a motor vehicle or mobile home, the application shall be accompanied by a proper bill of sale, a sworn statement of ownership, or a duly certified copy thereof, or a certificate of title. A sworn affidavit from the seller and purchaser must verify that the vehicle identification number shown on the affidavit is identical to the vehicle identification number shown on the motor vehicle. If such affidavit is not prepared, the application may be accompanied by an appropriate FLHSMV form indicating that a physical examination has been made by a law enforcement official, a licensed motor vehicle dealer, or a notary public and that the vehicle identification number shown on the form is identical to the vehicle identification number on the motor vehicle.

If the vehicle is a used car, a sworn affidavit from the owner is necessary to verify that the odometer reading shown on the affidavit is identical to the odometer reading shown on the motor vehicle at the time that the application for title is made.

The application for a certificate of title for a motor vehicle or mobile home previously titled or registered outside of Florida shall show on its face such fact and shall indicate the time and place of the last issuance of certificate of title or registration.


Title Transfer of Ownership

No person shall sell or otherwise dispose of a motor vehicle or mobile home without delivering to the purchaser or transferee a certificate of title indicating the name of the purchaser.

Upon transfer or reassignment of a certificate of title to a used motor vehicle, the transferor shall complete the odometer disclosure statement provided on the title. The transferee shall acknowledge the disclosure by signing and printing his or her own name in the spaces provided.

Each lien, mortgage, or encumbrance on a motor vehicle or mobile home title in Florida shall be noted upon the face of the Florida certificate of title.


Titles for Mobile Homes

Under Florida law, mobile homes are to be registered using the same process as a motor vehicle.

Registration Application

Every owner of a motor vehicle operated or driven on the public roads shall register the vehicle.

The owner of any motor vehicle or mobile home may file an application for renewal of registration with the county tax collector at any time during the 3 months preceding the date of the expiration of the registration period.

There is no period of grace for late registration.


Registration for Non-Residents

Registration is not required for non-residents if the vehicle is registered or licensed under the laws of some other state or foreign country, except:

  • In every case in which a non-resident accepts employment or engages in any trade, profession, or occupation in this state or enters his or her children to be educated in the public schools, a non-resident shall within 10 days after the commencement of employment or education, register his or her motor vehicle.
  • Any person who is enrolled as a student in a college or university is not required to register his or her vehicle in Florida if it is registered in another jurisdiction.
  • Vehicles owned by military personnel stationed in state may be operated on home state registration.

Registration Type

For a motor vehicle subject to registration, the registration period begins the 1st day of the birth month of the owner and ends on midnight of the owner’s birthday in the succeeding year.


Emissions Inspection

No statewide emissions inspection required.


Safety Inspection

No periodic statewide safety inspection requirement. Any police officer may at any time, upon reasonable cause to believe that a vehicle is unsafe or not equipped as required by law, or that its equipment is not in proper adjustment or repair, require the driver of the vehicle to stop and submit the vehicle to an inspection.


Title and Registration Fees

AUTOMOBILE

Title Fee: $77.25

Registration Fee: Initial registration: $225.00 plus annual base registration.*

MOTORCYCLE

Title Fee: $77.25

Registration Fee: $41.15

DUPLICATES

Plate Fee: $28.00

Registration Fee: $2.50

Driver’s License Fee: $25.00

Title Fee: $75.25

Special Plates: $15.00- $25.00

* Vehicle under 2,500 lbs: $27.60; Vehicle between 2,500-3,499: $35.60; Vehicle 3,500 or more: $45.60.

Plate Disbursement

Upon the receipt of an initial application for registration, the DMV shall assign a motor vehicle a reflectorized license plate bearing the registration license number.

License plates are valid for 10 years and when issued will be issued with validation stickers indicating the expiration month and year. The plates will expire on midnight of the owner’s birthday. At the end of 10 years, upon renewal, the plates shall be replaced.

The color scheme for license plates is green on white or orange on white.

Transfer of Plates

The registration license plate and certificate of registration shall be issued to, and remain in the name of, the owner of the vehicle registered and may be transferred by the owner from the vehicle for which the registration license plate was issued to any vehicle which the owner may acquire within the same classification.

Upon a sale, trade, transfer, or other disposition of a motor vehicle, the owner shall remove the registration license plate and either return it to the FLHSMV or transfer it to a replacement motor vehicle.

Driver's License Examination

For an applicant for a Class D or a Class E Driver’s license, the required examination shall include a test of the applicant’s eyesight (20/40 visual acuity required) given by the Driver’s license examiner designated by the FLHSMV or by a licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist and a test of the applicant’s hearing given by the Driver’s license examiner or a licensed physician.

The examination shall also include a test of the applicant’s ability to read and understand highway signs regulating, warning, and directing traffic; his or her knowledge of the traffic laws, including the laws regulating driving under the influence of alcohol. Testing shall also include an actual demonstration of the ability to exercise ordinary and reasonable control in the operation of a motor vehicle.

The FLHSMV may waive the knowledge, endorsement, and skills tests for an applicant from another state or a province of Canada who surrenders a valid driver’s license from that state or province.

The examination for an applicant of a commercial driver’s license shall include the following: tests of the applicant’s eyesight, hearing, ability to read and understand highway signs and traffic rules of the state. Tests will also include a skill test specifically designed for the class of commercial license being applied for as well as an examination of the applicant’s ability to perform an inspection of his or her vehicle.


Graduated Driver's Licensing

Florida has a system of graduated licensing for novice drivers.

At age 15, individuals are eligible for a learner’s permit.

  • Permit holders may only drive during the day (after 3 months individuals may drive until 10 p.m.) with a licensed driver 21 years or older.
  • Permit holders must also accumulate at least 50 hours (10 at night) of parental/guardian certified driving.

At age 16, drivers who have held the permit for at least 12 months without a traffic conviction are eligible for an intermediate license.

  • Intermediate license holders who are 16 may not drive unsupervised between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. At 17, intermediate license holders may not drive unsupervised between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Florida does not have a passenger restriction.

At age 18, individuals are eligible for an unrestricted license.


Driver's License Issuance/Application

Each application for a Driver’s license shall be made in a format designated by the FLHSMV and sworn to or affirmed by the applicant as to the truth of the statements made in the application.

Each application shall include the following information regarding the applicant: full name, digital photo (full face), gender, social security number, residence and mailing address, a brief description of the individual, proof of birth date, proof of identity, legal presence in the U.S., whether the applicant has previously been licensed to drive, and, if so when and by what state. Each application shall also include a consent to release driving record information.

Social security number not required on license.

The FLHSMV may not issue a driver’s license to a person who has never been issued a driver’s license in any jurisdiction until he or she successfully completes the traffic law and substance abuse class.

The expiration date of a non-citizen’s driver’s license is linked to the expiration date of that person’s visa.


Driver's License Renewal

Driver’s licenses are valid for a period of 8 years and expire at midnight on the licensee’s birthday, which next occurs on or after the 8th anniversary of the date of issue.

An applicant applying for a renewal issuance or renewal extension shall be issued a driver’s license or renewal extension sticker which is valid for 4 years except that a driver whose driving record reflects no convictions for the preceding 3 years shall be issued a license renewal extension sticker which is valid for 8 years.

Drivers who have not had any moving violation convictions for the last 3 years preceding renewal and whose driving privilege in Florida has not been revoked, disqualified, or suspended at any time during the 7 years preceding renewal, are only required to have tested their eyesight and hearing upon renewal. Those drivers who have had moving violation convictions in the last 3 years or who have had their license suspended during the 7 years preceding renewal are required to, in addition to the eyesight and hearing tests, pass a test of their ability to read and under-stand highway signs.

Drivers age 80 and older are issued licenses for 6 years and must pass a vision test administered at any driver’s license office. If applying for an extension by mail, such drivers must submit proof that they have passed a vision test administered by a licensed physician or optometrist.

Only one electronic or mail-in renewal may be made between in-person renewals, regardless of age.

Active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their dependents (spouses, children, and step-children under 21 living in the same household) stationed out of state may request a license extension. The license extension card keeps class D and E licenses valid until 90 days after discharge from military service. Extension card must be kept with driver’s license and presented with your military ID. The extension card is only available to military personnel who are stationed outside Florida and have a license which expired after July 1, 1995. Members of the military may renew their motor vehicle or motor home registration without penalty, if the service member was on active duty more than 35 miles away from home.


Types of Driver's Licenses

Class E: Holder can operate a noncommercial vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) less than 26,001 lbs. , including passenger cars, 15 passenger vans including the driver, trucks or recreational vehicles and two or three wheel motor vehicles 50 cc or less, such as mopeds or small scooters.

Class E-Learner: Holder can operate motor vehicles less than 8,000 lbs.

Motorcycle Endorsement: “MTCY ALSO” or “MTCY ONLY.”

Commercial Class A: Holder can operate a vehicle with a GWR of 26,001 or more, only if the tow is greater than 10,000 lbs.

Commercial Class B: Holder can operate any single vehicle with a GWR of 26,001 lbs.

Commercial Class C: Holder can operate a vehicles transporting placardable amounts of hazardous materials, or vehicles designed to transport more than 15 persons including the driver with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of less than 26,001 lbs

Distracted Driving

Texting while driving is banned for all drivers.  A secondary offense.

Use of a cellular phone with a headset is permitted while driving if sound is provided through 1 ear and allows surrounding sounds to be heard with other ear. Localities are prohibited from regulating the use of commercial mobile radio services, including cell phones.


Emergency Radio/Cellular

Emergency cell *FHP or *347.


Headsets

Wearing a headset, headphone, or other listening device, other than a hearing aid or instrument for the improvement of defective human hearing, is not permitted while driving.


Impaired Driving

All 50 states and the District of Columbia prohibit the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating beverages, with the illegal per se limit set at 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (.08 BAC). All 50 states and the District of Columbia set the legal drinking age at 21.

Every state’s chemical test law has ‘‘an implied consent’’ provision providing that any person operating a motor vehicle on a public highway, who is suspected of driving while intoxicated, consents to a chemical test to determine if he or she is inebriated. Failure to submit or pass such a test may cause the driver’s license to be suspended or revoked regardless of any court action finding the person innocent of the charge.

The most comprehensive resource on U.S. impaired driving laws is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Digest of Impaired Driving and Selected Beverage Control Laws.  NHTSA’s Digest is updated annually.

Florida requires the use of ignition interlocks for repeat and high BAC (.15 BAC or greater) offenders only.


Move Over Law

State law requires drivers to reduce speed to 20mph less than the posted speed limit and, if safe to do so, vacate the lane closest to stationary emergency vehicles, including towing and recovery vehicles, when traveling in the same direction. If such movement cannot be safely accomplished, the driver shall reduce speed.


Seat Belts

It is unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle unless the driver and all front seat passengers 18 years and older are restrained by a safety belt.

Violation of the seat belt law is a standard offense.

Riding in pickup truck beds is not permitted for persons under age 18 unless in an enclosed area, except employees on duty; some other exceptions apply.


Child Passenger Safety

Children ages 6 until 18 must be restrained in a child restraint or seat belt.

Children under age 6 are required to use a child restraint.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.


Railroad Crossing

Any person driving a school bus and approaching a railroad-highway grade crossing shall stop within 50 feet but not less than 15 feet from the nearest rail of such railroad and shall not proceed until he or she can do so safely when a highway sign is indicating that a train is approaching or when the driver can hear or see an approaching train. Drivers of commercial vehicles shall slow before crossing the tracks and check that the tracks are clear of an approaching train.


School Buses

Any person using, operating, or driving a vehicle on or over the roads or highways of this state shall, upon approaching any school bus that displays a stop signal bring such vehicle to a full stop while the bus is stopped, and the vehicle shall not pass the school bus until the signal has been withdrawn.

Bumper Height

Maximum bumper heights are as follows:

Vehicles with a net weight of less than 2,500 lbs: 22 inches.

Vehicles with a net weight between 2,500 lbs. and 3,500 lbs: front bumper, 24 inches; rear bumper, 26 inches.

Vehicles with a net weight of 3,500 lbs. or more: front bumper, 27 inches; rear bumper, 29 inches.


Headlight Use

Headlights are required to be on from sunset to sunrise, in conditions of insufficient light/adverse weather (rain, smoke, fog).


Hazard Light Use

The use of hazard lights is not permitted while driving.


Tire Chains

Tire chain usage is permitted for hazardous weather or other related incidents only, but may not damage the highway surface.


Studded Tires

Studded tires are permitted but only with rubber studs.


Glass/Window Tinting

No vehicle’s side windows may be tinted with a material that has a total solar reflectance of visible light of not more than 25% and a light transmittance of at least 28% in the visible light range.

The windows behind the driver may not be tinted with a screening material consisting of film that has a total solar reflectance of not more than 35% and a light transmittance of less than 15% in the visible light range; tinted with a perforated screening material which has a total reflectance of visible light of more than 35% and a light transmittance of less than 30%; or tinted by louvered materials that reduce the driver visibility by more than 50%.

The FLHSMV shall issue a medical exemption certificate to persons who are afflicted with Lupus or similar medical conditions, which require a limited exposure to light.


Telematics

No motor vehicle operated on the highways shall be equipped with television-type receiving equipment so located that the viewer or screen is visible from the Driver’s seat.  A global positioning system device may be placed on a windshield if it does not hinder the driver’s line of sight.


Radar Detectors

Radar detectors are permitted for passenger vehicles but prohibited for use by commercial vehicles.


Windshield Stickers

No person shall drive any motor vehicle with any sign, poster, or other non-transparent material upon the front windshield, sidewings, or side or rear windows of such vehicle which materially obstructs, obscures, or impairs the Driver’s clear view of the highway or any intersecting highway.

Exempts GPS devices or similar satellite receiver devices.


Other Equipment Rules

N/A.

Motorcycle Equipment

Every motorcycle shall have brakes capable of developing a brake force that is not less than 43.5% of its gross weight, decelerating to a stop from not more than 20 mph and not less than 14 feet per second, and stopping from a speed of 20 mph in not more than 30 feet. These requirements are based on a surface that is substantially level and is a dry, hard, smooth surface free from loose material.

Every motorcycle shall be equipped with at least 1 and not more than 2 headlamps.

Every motorcycle shall carry on the rear, either as part of the tail lamp or separately at least 1 red reflector.

Every motorcycle shall have at least 1 tail lamp which shall be located at a height of not more than 72 inches and not less than 20 inches measured from the ground.

Either a tail lamp or a separate lamp shall be so constructed and placed as to illuminate with a white light the rear registration plate and render it clearly legible from a distance of 50 feet from the rear.

Any person who operates a motorcycle on the public streets shall, while so engaged, have the headlight or headlights of the motorcycle turned on.

Any motorcycle carrying a passenger, other than in a sidecar or enclosed cab, shall be equipped with footrests for such passenger.

No person shall operate any motorcycle with handlebars that are higher than the top of the shoulders of the person operating the motorcycle.

A person may not operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless the person is properly wearing protective headgear unless the operator is 21 years of age or older and is covered by an insurance policy providing at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash while operating or riding on a motorcycle.

A person may not operate a motorcycle unless the person is wearing an eye-protective device over his or her eyes of a type approved by the DMV.

A person operating a motorcycle shall ride only upon the permanent and regular seat attached and shall not carry any other person unless the motorcycle is specifically designed to carry more than 1 person.


Motorcycle Licenses

The examination for a motorcycle license endorsement tests the applicant’s knowledge of the operation of a motorcycle and of any traffic laws specifically relating to motorcycles. Examination also includes an actual demonstration of the applicant’s ability to exercise ordinary and reasonable control in the operation of a motorcycle.

Every 1st-time applicant for licensure to operate a motorcycle who is under 21 years of age must provide proof of completion of a motorcycle safety course.


Motorcycle Noise Limits

The maximum sound levels permitted are 82dBA (35mph or less) for vehicles manufactured before January 1, 1979; and 78dBA(over 35mph) for vehicles manufactures after January 1, 1979.


Mopeds & Other

A person under 16 years of age may not operate or ride upon a moped unless the person is properly wearing protective headgear.

A person under 16 years old may not operate a motorcycle that has a motor with more than 150 cc displacement.

A person operating a moped at less than the normal speed of traffic shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway unless passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or preparing for a left turn.

No person shall propel a moped upon and along a sidewalk while the motor is operating.

Trailer Dimensions

Total length: 65 feet; trailer length: 48 feet; motor home length: 40 feet; width: 8 feet 6 inches (excluding safety equipment and appurtenances); height: 13 feet 6 inches.


Trailer Brakes

Every such vehicle and combination of vehicles shall be equipped with service brakes adequate to control the movement of and to stop and hold such vehicle under all conditions of loading, and on any grade incident to its operation.

Every vehicle shall be equipped with brakes acting on all wheels except trailers, semitrailers, or pole trailers of a gross weight not exceeding 3,000 lbs., provided that the total weight on and including the wheels of the trailer or trailers shall not exceed 40 percent of the gross weight of the towing vehicle when connected to the trailer or trailers; and the combination of vehicles, consisting of the towing vehicle and its total towed load, is capable of complying with the performance requirements of the law.

Pole trailers with a gross weight in excess of 3,000 lbs. manufactured prior to January 1, 1972, need not be equipped with brakes.

Every towing vehicle, when used to tow another vehicle equipped with air-controlled brakes, in other than driveway or tow-away operations, shall be equipped with 2 means for emergency application of the trailer brakes.


Trailer Hitch/Signals

When a vehicle is towing a trailer or semitrailer by means of a hitch to the rear of the vehicle, there shall be attached in addition thereto safety chains, cables, or other safety devices.


Trailer Lighting

Every motor vehicle shall be equipped with at least 2 tail lamps mounted on the rear, which, when lighted emit a red light plainly visible from a distance of 1,000 feet to the rear.


Trailer Mirrors

Every vehicle operated singly, or when towing any other vehicle, shall be equipped with a mirror so located as to reflect to the Driver’s view of the highway for a distance of at least 200 feet to the rear of the motor vehicle.


Trailer Speed Limits

Unless otherwise posted, 30 mph in business and residential districts, and 55 mph at any time at all other locations. Turnpike and other designated highways 65 mph, except where posted 70 mph (minimum speed 50 mph).


Trailer Towing

When 1 vehicle is towing another, the drawbar or other connection shall be of sufficient strength to pull all weight towed.

The drawbar connection shall not exceed 15 feet from 1 vehicle to the other.

When 1 vehicle is towing another and the connection consists of a chain, rope, or cable, there shall be displayed upon such connection a white flag or cloth not less than 12 inches square.


Trailer Other Provisions

No person or persons shall occupy a house trailer while it is being moved upon a public street or highway.

Accident Reporting

Crashes are required to be reported as soon as possible in cases of death or injury, or when property damage exceeds $500.00.


Bail Bonds

Mandatory recognition of AAA arrest bond certificates up to $1,000 with specified exceptions. May vary within 67 counties.


Liability Laws

No fault law requires anyone who owns or has registered a motor vehicle with 4 or more wheels (excluding taxis and limos), that has been in the state for at least 90 days of the past 365 to have the following coverage. All drivers are required to have insurance policies of at least $10,000 for an individual’s bodily injury; $20,000 for injury to multiple persons; $10,000 for property damage; and a $30,000 minimum per accident.


Weigh Stations

The following vehicles must stop: (1) agricultural, motor vehicles (including trailers) which are or could be used in the production, manufacture, storage, sale, or transportation of any food product or any agricultural, horticultural or live stock product, except private passenger automobiles with no trailer in tow, travel trailers, camping trailers, and motor homes; (2) any commercial vehicle (a) with a GWR of 10,000 lbs. or more, (b) designed to transport more than 10 passengers, or (c) used to transport hazardous materials.


Bicycles

Bicycle helmets are required for all riders under age 16.

Bicyclists must remain in a bicycle lane if a lane is provided. If a bicycle lane is not provided, bicyclists must stay as close as practicable to the right.

Drivers passing a bicycle must pass with a space of 3 feet between the motor vehicle and the bicycle.


Other

Florida is party to the Non-Resident Violator Compact.