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The changes in Florida law that affect you

Of the more than 150 laws now on the books in Florida are many that directly affect you.

On the road

Several laws deal with the rules of the road and what you need to keep in mind on your commute.

One of the biggest changes deals with slow drivers.  If you drive more than ten miles per hour under the posted speed limit in the left lane, you could get a ticket.

“It’s designed to increase the flow of traffic, and to keep slowpokes out of the left lane,” says WOKV’s legal analyst Mark Rubin.

Rubin says driving slowly in the left lane is a danger, because people then try to pass you on the right, which messes with the entire flow of traffic.

A change on the road that he’s more happy to see is a law dealing with your ability to warn approaching drivers of a speed trap.

“Even though, technically, alerting oncoming traffic of a speed trap was not illegal, the use of the high beams was,” he says.

The Florida Highway Patrol had interpreted you flashing your high beams to warn drivers as an improper use, which meant a ticket.  Rubin says lawmakers didn’t agree.

“You have a constitutional right, freedom of expression, to flash your headlights,” he says.

So it’s now legal to flash your high beams, and the law says the approaching drivers can interpret that as they wish.

One of the most debated bills dealing with the rules of the road, the texting while driving ban, doesn’t take effect until October.

Drone use by law enforcement

Where privacy is concerned, it is easy to see why drone use by law enforcement can make some uneasy. Lawmakers have enacted several new restrictions on when drones can be deployed, however, to ensure they are not used inappropriately.

“We don’t wanna have police and law enforcement to willy-nilly be able to do a Rambo-style attack using drones,” Rubin says.

He says these restrictions are a natural step in trying to refine the use of new technology.  He further expects we will see new rules come up year after year, although those may not always be further restrictions.

“Only time will allow us to determine how tightly we tighten the noose,” he says.

Ease of evictions for Florida’s renters

“The pendulum is switching, it’s moving toward the landlord,” Rubin says.

A new law makes it easier for a landlord to evict a tenant based on infractions like having a non-approved pet.  Rubin says this backlash is a natural reaction to the fact that tenants have increasingly taken advantage of many landlords.

“There are a lot of abuses, they become excessive, tenants have become well organized and smart,” he says.

Rubin says tenants have been able to learn “tricks of the trade”, like how to stay in a property longer, through reaching out on social media, and that increase in pressure over the past few years has led landlords to demand change.

But there’s one simple solution to prevent any problems.

“If people just live by the rules they all agree to before they go in to a landlord-tenant relationship before they signed a lease, then you shouldn’t have any problems,” he says.

These are just a few of the many laws now taking effect in Florida. If you would like WOKV to dig deeper in to any law, you can email Stephanie Brown at stephanie.brown@coxinc.com.

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