(1) Each applicant for a driver license must complete a traffic law and substance abuse education course, unless the applicant has been licensed in another jurisdiction or has satisfactorily completed a Department of Education driver education course offered pursuant to s. 1003.48.
(2) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles must approve traffic law and substance abuse education courses, including courses that use communications technology as the delivery method.
(a) In addition to the course approval criteria provided in this section, initial approval of traffic law and substance abuse education courses shall be based on the department’s review of all course materials which must be designed to promote safety, education, and driver awareness; course presentation to the department by the provider; and the provider’s plan for effective oversight of the course by those who deliver the course in the state.
Terms Used In Florida Statutes 322.095
- Alcohol: means any substance containing any form of alcohol including, but not limited to, ethanol, methanol, propanol, and isopropanol. See Florida Statutes 409.908
- Department: means the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles acting directly or through its duly authorized representatives. See Florida Statutes 409.908
- Driver license: means a certificate that, subject to all other requirements of law, authorizes an individual to drive a motor vehicle and denotes an operator's license as defined in 49 U. See Florida Statutes 409.908
- Felony: means any offense under state or federal law that is punishable by death or by a term of imprisonment exceeding 1 year. See Florida Statutes 409.908
- Motor vehicle: means any self-propelled vehicle, including a motor vehicle combination, not operated upon rails or guideway, excluding vehicles moved solely by human power, motorized wheelchairs, and motorized bicycles as defined in…. See Florida Statutes 409.908
- Owner: means the person who holds the legal title to a vehicle. See Florida Statutes 409.908
- Permit: means a document authorizing the temporary operation of a motor vehicle within this state subject to conditions established in this chapter. See Florida Statutes 409.908
- person: includes individuals, children, firms, associations, joint adventures, partnerships, estates, trusts, business trusts, syndicates, fiduciaries, corporations, and all other groups or combinations. See Florida Statutes 88.6011
- Revocation: means the termination of a licensee's privilege to drive. See Florida Statutes 409.908
- school: includes all preelementary, elementary, secondary, and postsecondary schools. See Florida Statutes 409.908
- State: means a state or possession of the United States, and, for the purposes of this chapter, includes the District of Columbia. See Florida Statutes 409.908
- Suspension: means the temporary withdrawal of a licensee's privilege to drive a motor vehicle. See Florida Statutes 409.908
- Vehicle: means every device in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a public highway or operated upon rails or guideway, except a bicycle, motorized wheelchair, or motorized bicycle. See Florida Statutes 409.908
(b) Each course provider seeking approval of a traffic law and substance abuse education course must submit:
1. Proof of ownership, copyright, or written permission from the course owner to use the course in the state.
2. The curriculum for the courses which must promote motorcyclist, bicyclist, and pedestrian safety and provide instruction on the physiological and psychological consequences of the abuse of alcohol and other drugs; the societal and economic costs of alcohol and drug abuse; the effects of alcohol and drug abuse on the driver of a motor vehicle; the laws of this state relating to the operation of a motor vehicle; the risk factors involved in driver attitude and irresponsible driver behaviors, such as speeding, reckless driving, and running red lights and stop signs; and the results of the use of electronic devices while driving.
(3) Prior to offering the course, the course provider must obtain certification from the department that the course complies with the requirements of this section. If the course is offered in a classroom setting, the course provider and any schools authorized by the provider to teach the course must offer the approved course at locations that are free from distractions and reasonably accessible to most applicants and must issue a certificate to those persons successfully completing the course.
(4) In addition to a regular course fee, an assessment fee in the amount of $3 shall be collected by the school from each person who attends a course. The course provider must remit the $3 assessment fee to the department for deposit into the Highway Safety Operating Trust Fund in order to receive a unique course completion certificate number for the student.
(5) The department may maintain the information and records necessary to administer its duties and responsibilities for the program. Course providers are required to maintain all records pertinent to the conduct of their approved courses for 5 years and allow the department to inspect such records as necessary. Records may be maintained in an electronic format. If such information is a public record as defined in chapter 119, it shall be made available to the public upon request pursuant to s. 119.07(1).
(6) The department shall design, develop, implement, and conduct effectiveness studies on each delivery method of all courses approved pursuant to this section on a recurring 5-year basis. At a minimum, studies shall be conducted on the effectiveness of each course in reducing DUI citations and decreasing moving traffic violations or collision recidivism. Upon notification that a course has failed an effectiveness study, the course provider shall immediately cease offering the course in the state.
(7) Courses approved under this section must be updated at the department’s request. Failure of a course provider to update the course within 90 days after the department’s request shall result in the suspension of the course approval until such time that the updates are submitted and approved by the department.
(8) Each course provider shall ensure that its driver improvement schools are conducting the approved courses fully, to the required time limits, and with the content requirements specified by the department. The course provider shall ensure that only department-approved instructional materials are used in the presentation of the course, and that all driver improvement schools conducting the course do so in a manner that maximizes its impact and effectiveness. The course provider shall ensure that any student who is unable to attend or complete a course due to action, error, or omission on the part of the course provider or driver improvement school conducting the course shall be accommodated to permit completion of the course at no additional cost.
(9) Traffic law and substance abuse education courses shall be conducted with a minimum of 4 hours devoted to course content minus a maximum of 30 minutes allotted for breaks.
(10) A course provider may not require any student to purchase a course completion certificate. Course providers offering paper or electronic certificates for purchase must clearly convey to the student that this purchase is optional, that the only valid course completion certificate is the electronic one that is entered into the department’s Driver Improvement Certificate Issuance System, and that paper certificates are not acceptable for any licensing purpose.
(11) Course providers and all associated driver improvement schools that offer approved courses shall disclose all fees associated with the course and shall not charge any fees that are not clearly listed during the registration process.
(12) Course providers shall submit course completion information to the department through the department’s Driver Improvement Certificate Issuance System within 5 days. The submission shall be free of charge to the student.
(13) The department may deny, suspend, or revoke course approval upon proof that the course provider:
(a) Violated this section.
(b) Has been convicted of a crime involving any drug-related or DUI-related offense, a felony, fraud, or a crime directly related to the personal safety of a student.
(c) Failed to satisfy the effectiveness criteria as outlined in subsection (6).
(d) Obtained course approval by fraud or misrepresentation.
(e) Obtained or assisted a person in obtaining any driver license by fraud or misrepresentation.
(f) Conducted a traffic law and substance abuse education course in the state while approval of such course was under suspension or revocation.
(g) Failed to provide effective oversight of those who deliver the course in the state.
(14) The department shall not accept certificates from students who take a course after the course has been suspended or revoked.
(15) A person who has been convicted of a crime involving any drug-related or DUI-related offense in the past 5 years, a felony, fraud, or a crime directly related to the personal safety of a student shall not be allowed to conduct traffic law and substance abuse education courses.
(16) The department shall summarily suspend approval of any course without preliminary hearing for the purpose of protecting the public safety and enforcing any provision of law governing traffic law and substance abuse education courses.
(17) Except as otherwise provided in this section, before final department action denying, suspending, or revoking approval of a course, the course provider shall have the opportunity to request either a formal or informal administrative hearing to show cause why the action should not be taken.
(18) The department may levy and collect a civil fine of at least $1,000 but not more than $5,000 for each violation of this section. Proceeds from fines collected shall be deposited into the Highway Safety Operating Trust Fund and used to cover the cost of administering this section or promoting highway safety initiatives.