Florida Residents: New Laws for 2015

The Florida Legislature passed a few new laws for 2015 that affect Florida residents and the Florida insurance industry. 

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Now in the state of Florida, children under the age of 5 must have a child restraint seat in when riding in any motor vehicle.  Previously, the cutoff was age 3 when children were required to sit in a carseat, but the law has changed to include that children up to 5 years old.  Up to age 3, the restraint must be a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer's integrated child seat. However for children aged 4 through 5 years, the legal provision was added that a separate carrier, an integrated child seat, or a booster seat may be used.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, every operator of a motor vehicle driven on Florida roads must provide for the protection of any child, 5 years of age or younger, by using a crash-tested, federally approved car seat.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that booster seat use reduces the risk for serious injury by 45 percent for children ages 4–8 years when compared with seat belt use alone.

Because car crashes are one of the leading causes of death for children under 9, AAA Auto Club is shedding light on the law change by offering free car seats for children ages 4 and older.  This offer is valid for anyone (not just AAA members), so if your child has outgrown their carseat, this is a great way to find a replacement.  Visit the AAA website to learn more, or check out this factsheet

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Lawmakers also updated the Florida Building Code to require smoke detectors powered by non-removable, non-replaceable lithium ion batteries (similar to what’s in an iPhone or laptop).  These batteries last over 10 years, ensuring that the batteries won’t go dead or be pulled out (rather than replaced), and in the process saving lives and dollars.

While these smoke detectors are more costly up-front, the money saved in batteries is enough to pay for itself over the life of the alarm.  One other benefit to a sealed-battery smoke alarm is for “snowbirds,” or seasonal residents who might not always remember to change the batteries before their absence.  Sealed-battery smoke detectors are becoming the norm across the country, much preferred for multi-unit residences, so in this case Florida is legally “catching up” with other states.

Will these new laws for 2015 have any impact on your family or home?