I don’t think anyone enjoys moving. The prospect of a new home, a new job, a new life can all be exciting ideas, but the actual moving part of the endeavor is overwhelming. Packing is chaotic for everyone, although for some it may be organized chaos. Even when you have professional movers packing and moving things for you, you still have to get organized first and supervise the process. Remembering to tie up loose ends like having your utilities turned off in one location and started in your new location is just part of the headache. There are also other details that you should consider before the actual move, such as what you need to know about the area to which you are moving. Have you done your homework on the school your kids may be attending? Have you contacted the local police department to find out if the neighborhood you are moving to is relatively safe? The local Chamber of Commerce can also be tremendously helpful if you are relocating to an unfamiliar area.
Then there is the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The rules for obtaining your driver’s license and registering your car can vary from state to state. It is also best to know what these requirements are before you arrive at your new destination. Since thousands of people flock to South Florida every day, either to relocate permanently, temporarily, or just to visit. If you are one of those people, it is important to know just what the DMV expects from you so that you can try to avoid unnecessary traffic tickets.
Getting your Florida driver’s license:
- Out-of-State Drivers: If you have an out-of-state driver’s license when you move to South Florida, you must obtain a Florida driver’s license within 30 days of moving here. When you do so, you must provide two legal forms of identification when you go to the DMV to apply. One must be your out-of-state license, which then has to be relinquished at the time of your application. When I say legal forms of other identification, those include your social security card, a certified birth certificate, a certificate of naturalization, a certificate of birth abroad, as well as a few others.
Although you don’t have to take a written test or the road test, you will be required to have a vision and hearing test completed. If, however, your out-of-state driver’s license is expired, you may be required to get a Florida learner’s permit. You might also have to complete the same requirements that every Florida resident must complete before getting their first Florida driver’s license. One other form of documentation that you will have to provide is proof of Florida residency. Examples of proof of residency are a voter registration card, deed, mortgage, lease agreement, or other such documentation.
- International drivers: Florida views foreign driver’s licenses with an international permit the same way as it does an out-of-state license, and an expired international license is treated the same way as an expired out-of-state driver’s license. Again, an expired international license will require that you get a learner’s permit and complete all of the prerequisites for obtaining a first-time Florida license. There are a few exceptions to this which are addressed in the Florida driver’s manual.
- Non-U.S. Citizens: The process of obtaining a Florida driver’s license for immigrant and non-immigrant drivers who are not U.S. citizens varies. It is usually best to check with the local DMV to find out what is needed to get your driver’s license.
Registering your vehicle in Florida:
Regardless of whether you are getting a driver’s license or registering your vehicle, keep in mind that the population in South Florida is great, and it is growing every day. Consequently, the DMV tends to be a very busy place, and you could potentially spend hours or a whole day just trying to accomplish these tasks. It is, therefore, advisable to make an appointment. This doesn’t mean that you won’t spend a lengthy amount of time at the DMV, but it will certainly help to speed up the process. Making an appointment for these matters is as easy as going online to the DMV website. Arriving a few minutes early is advisable so that you don’t miss your appointment time and get bumped out of their queue.
Although you have 30 days to get your driver’s license, you only have 10 days to register your vehicle once you have done any of the following in Florida:
– Get a job
– Register a child in school
– Register to vote
– File for a homestead exemption
Additionally, even if you have done none of these, living in Florida for more than six months automatically makes you a Florida resident under the law. As such, you are then required to have a Florida driver’s license and register your vehicle in here. When you go to register the vehicle, you will need to provide verification of your vehicle identification number (VIN), proof of Florida auto insurance, and the title to the vehicle.
Florida 511 traveler information system:
With few exceptions, the 511 traveler information system is part of a national communications system formed by the National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Communications Committee, and other traffic safety-oriented organizations. The purpose of this system is to aid motorists to get to their destinations safely. It also expedites the progress of the delivery of freight from one location to another. Even though this was a major reason for the development of the 511 system, the benefits to other motorists is undeniable, most notably in states that can suffer from heavy traffic congestion such as Florida.
The FL511 system and its partners provide technology that keeps drivers updated on traffic conditions, road construction, and other ancillary traffic alerts. It can also be a great tool to use in planning your trip before embarking upon it so that you can avoid troublesome areas. This is extremely helpful in alleviating driver frustration, which can often lead to traffic violations such as speeding, cutting others off, tailgating, and so forth. All of these actions can result in a traffic ticket, the fines and penalties of which can add up quickly. The way the FL511 system works is that you can visit FL511.com to set up an account. From there, you can plan the route you are going to take or also search for any trouble spots along the way. You can even plan routes that you take as a matter of course. This allows you to check for accidents, bridge closures, or construction before you begin your daily commute. Once you have an account, you can even elect to receive certain alerts that may be of particular concern to you. Setting up an account is easy. You simply go to the user home page and select a user name and password. Follow the prompts to create a route or routes by choosing a particular roadway, your starting location, and your ending location. You can then choose which alerts you would like to receive and when you would like to get them. This provides you with the latitude to change your route if there is an issue occurring along your normal route.
Another handy function of the FL511 system is that it can give you estimated travel times and let you know where red light cameras are located. These, along with the route planning, can prove invaluable in helping you to avoiding getting traffic tickets, and traffic tickets are big business in South Florida. Not having a valid license, not having your car registered correctly, and red light traffic cameras are just a few of the reasons cops write so many traffic citations here, but the number one reason that drivers who get speeding tickets give is, “Officer, I was running late for work.” This is not an excuse that works, and we have a plethora of law enforcement agencies that seem eager to jump on the traffic ticket bandwagon.