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New year means new Florida laws

11:00 AM, Jan 1, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The new year is ushering in new laws in Florida.

Minimum wage is going up by 12 cents to $7.79 in Florida. The increase impacts about 210,000 workers who will see about $5 more in their paychecks on average. About half of minimum wage workers are ages 24 and under.

Your PIP insurance coverage is also changing on your auto insurance policy. Initial changes took effect on July 1st, but starting today if you are in a car crash, you will have two weeks to seek medical or dental treatment for injuries related to the crash.

You will still be eligible for $10,000 in coverage for emergency medical care and up to $2,500 for minor injuries. Acupuncture and massage therapy will no longer be covered.

Flashing your headlights to warn oncoming drivers of a speed trap is no longer illegal. The Legislature clarified the law after a judge ruled some law enforcement agencies were misinterpreting a law that does not allow drivers to put flashing lights on their vehicles.

Other vehicle related changes include removing a provision that prohibits school buses from traveling at 55 mph. Buses must still obey the speed limit. The law also redefines the term "swamp  buggy" and restricts them from state roads and streets. Click here for a complete list of changes.

The judge ruled that flashing your lights is protected under the 1st Amendment. FHP found some wiggle room after that ruling, ticketing people for using high beams illegally on oncoming traffic.

75-watt incandescent light bulbs are also out. Starting January 1, federal law no longer allows the production or importation of 75 watt light bulbs. Retailers will still be able to sell remaining inventory.

Last year, the 100-watt incandescent bulb was retired in an effort to be more environmentally friendly. 60 and 40 watt bulbs will be phased out in January 2014.


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