Buying a new or used car
All vehicles changing ownership whether from dealer to buyer or between seller and buyer must be registered with the DMV and you must buy the locally required car insurance.
Out of state registration
If you are moving to Florida as a potential resident, the law looks for evidence you are setting down roots. If you begin work or place a child in a local school, you have ten days within which to change your car insurance cover and register the vehicle(s) with the DMV.
All the DMV services are under pressure so, before you go into the local office for any purpose, make sure you know exactly what the requirements are. Make an appointment whenever possible. Otherwise be prepared to wait.
Some 14 million Florida residents already drive and, every year, not less than 800,000 new drivers have been registered. Many are new to driving.
The graduated license program
The state has watched the the number of accidents and injuries to its young drivers and, following the example in the majority of other states, has implemented a graduated program. There are two steps for a teen to acquire a learner’s permit or restricted license:
• Young adults aged between 15 and 17 must complete the introductory Drug, Alcohol, Traffic Awareness (DATA) course. All Florida Driver’s Association traffic schools and High School Driver Members run approved courses. The course is also available online.
• The young driver must pass the DMV written test which currently has forty questions to answer. Both the driving schools and high schools run courses to help you prepare for the tests which are held by appointment at your local DMV office. The standards are reasonably strict and quite a high percentage fail the test at the first attempt.
This gives the new driver twelve months to practice his or her driving under the supervision of an adult who must always be sitting in the front passenger seat. As a learner, you are not allowed to drive on your own. If performance is adequate after twelve months, you can take the behind-the-wheel driving test. If successful, a full driver’s license is issued. Once you reach the magic age of 18, you can apply for a full license directly. But all adults as new drivers must go through the DATA course to get a better understanding of the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse as a driver.
Because the state has such a high percentage of drivers over the age of 55, it has invested quite heavily in education and defensive driving courses to help keep people independent and mobile. Once you reach the age of 80, you must apply to renew your license in person, pass a vision test, and may have to sit a written test. The Florida Safety Resource Center develops new skills and, if you are considered no longer fit to drive, advises on how to get around without a car. If you do give up the privilege of driving, Florida Grand Driver offers independent advice to the family.