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New Florida law can help make police aware of drivers with disabilities

The law will be part of the motor vehicle registration process. Sponsors say it will make officers mindful of possible medical conditions of someone in the vehicle who may not respond to commands as expected.

A new law (HB 341) signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis lets people voluntarily indicate on their driving record whether they have a disability.

Its called the Safeguarding American Families Everywhere (SAFE) Act, and it will be part of the state's motor vehicle registration process.
Tallahassee Democratic Rep. Allison Tant sponsored the measure.

"There’s someone in the vehicle who may not respond to commands or request by those officers in the way they’re accustomed to," Tant said during a House Infrastructure Strategies Committee.

Drivers with disabilities will be recognized in the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles system with the word “SAFE," though, that could be removed at any time.

The provision covers parents in Florida whose child has been diagnosed with a disability or disorder. Advocates say the SAFE initiative will make officers more aware of medical conditions during routine traffic stops.

The law goes into effect Oct. 1.

The application form for motor vehicle registration must allow an applicant to indicate any of the following disabilities or disorders:

  • Autism
  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder
  • Down syndrome
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Diabetes
  • Autoimmune disorder
  • Deafness
  • Blindness

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Adrian Andrews