Law Changes in 2013: What You Should Know

By Emily E Bean, Managing Editor


The New Year is bringing several changes to the state of Florida including several new laws.  New legislation ranges from insurance standards to traffic laws.   


This January, minimum wage is increasing by 12 cents to $7.79.  Over 210,000 workers will see about a $5 increase on each paycheck due to this change.  This will affect many teens and young adults as they represent half of minimum wage workers.


Amendments will also affect Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance.  Now collision participants will have two weeks to obtain medical or dental treatment for automobile accident-related injuries.  Crash victims are still eligible for $10,000 in coverage for emergency medical care and up to $2,500 for minor injuries.  However, acupuncture and massage therapies will no longer be covered under the new law.


Possibly one of the most interesting new laws deals with speed traps and traffic etiquette.  It is no longer illegal to flash vehicle headlights to oncoming drivers to warn them of a speed trap.  Recently, a judge ruled the practice legal in a case reviewed where many law enforcement agencies were misinterpreting a law that does not allow drivers to put flashing lights on their vehicles.  The ruling stated that flashing headlights is protected under the First Amendment.  However, FHP may still issue tickets for illegal use of high beams on oncoming traffic as it may be dangerous or distracting to other drivers. 


Another change will affect our children through the school bus systems.  Previously, school buses could only travel at 55 mph or lower, regardless of higher speed limits.  While buses must still obey the speed limit, they are now able to travel at the posted speed.


The law also redefined the term “swamp buggy” and restricted them from all state roads and streets.  This includes golf carts on major roads and avenues.  However, personal transportation vehicles such as scooters and motorized wheelchairs were not included in this amendment.   


Legislators are also phasing out 75-watt incandescent light bulbs.  As of January 1, federal law prohibits the production or importation of 75-watt bulbs.  However, retailers may still vend remaining inventory.  In 2012, federal legislators retired the 100-watt incandescent bulb and it is predicted that the 60 and 40-watt bulbs will be phased out by January of 2014.  With these changes, consumers are now urged to purchase lighting that is more environmentally friendly.


For a full listing of the new laws and regulations, please visit


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