Driving and Commuting
The average commute in Hillsborough County runs 26 minutes; in Pinellas County, it runs 23 minutes, although people with the longest commute — 37 minutes — live in the northeast corner of Pinellas County, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) offers commuter options at www.fdot.gov.
FDOT provides free, bilingual and real-time traffic information. Registered users can also create a personalized profile to receive and obtain phone, text or email updates about incidents on their specified routes at www.fl511.com or by dialing 511.
Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority offers a commuter services program that includes a ride-matching service, which connects commuters with each other to share the ride to work or school through carpooling. For information, visit www.tampabayrideshare.org or call 813-282-8200 or 800-998-7433.
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
2900 Apalachee Parkway
Tallahassee, FL 32399 850-617-2000
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles issues driver’s licenses, identification cards and vehicle registration and provides other driving-related services. Find many of the required forms and general information at www.flhsmv.gov. Speed limits on rural interstates are 70 mph.
Military personnel and their spouses who are stationed in Florida may do drive with a valid out-of-state driver license. There is no requirement to obtain a Florida driver license when military and their family members move to Florida, take a job, or enroll their children in public schools.
While the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles oversees all driving-related matters, the individual tasks are handled by the Division of Driver Licenses, which has offices throughout the Greater Tampa Area. The driver’s license offices handle driver’s licenses, permits, ID cards, organ donor registrations and voter registrations. Appointments are recommended. The offices perform hearing, vision, road sign and road rules and driving tests. A vehicle with a valid tag and inspection and proof of insurance is required for the driving exam. It may be possible to convert an out-of-state license without taking a written or road test. To make an appointment online, visit https://services.flhsmv.gov/Oasis.
There are 14 driver’s license and motor vehicle service centers in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. For a full list of service centers and their hours of operations, visit www.flhsmv.gov/offices.
New residents must register their vehicles within 10 days of becoming employed, placing children in public school or establishing residency. The vehicle must be insured by a company licensed in Florida. To complete the registration process, take proof of Florida insurance, the original title and the completed form HSMV 82040 or HSMV 82042 verifying the VIN to the Hillsborough or Pinellas County tax collector’s office. If more than one owner is on the out-of-state title for transfer, all applicants must sign the application or be present.
Military members and veterans may be entitled to certain DMV exemptions and allowances. For more information on military and veteran exceptions and requirements, visit the website.
Florida does not prohibit drivers from making calls while operating a motor vehicle. However, because localities are allowed to enact their own cellphone laws, making or receiving calls without a hands-free device is illegal in some towns. Texting while driving is prohibited for all drivers in Florida.
Florida Department of Transportation
Visit the Florida Department of Transportation’s website for information on travel resources, road conditions and closures, and traffic alerts. Maps and information about commuting options and public transportation programs are also available.