Get Adobe Flash player

The Gold Star On The Florida Learners Permit and Drivers License

The federal REAL ID Act of 2005 sets new standards for the issuance of driver licenses, learners permits and identification cards (ID).


The Department of Homeland Security has established rules to implement the requirements of the REAL ID Act which are as follows:


REAL ID Interesting Facts


The REAL ID Act became effective nationwide on May 11, 2008. Florida began issuing REAL ID compliant credentials  – i.e., drivers license, learners permits and ID cards after January 1, 2010. The new credentials have a single gold star immediately following the drivers license, learner permit or ID card number.

At one time, individuals – in Florida – were not allowed to have an ID card and drivers license. Currently, you are only allowed one or, the other and not both. In other words, if you have a drivers license and an ID card, your ID card will become null and void thus making your drivers license Real ID Act compliant.


Your current Florida drivers license, learners permit or ID card will continue to be valid as identification for federal purposes until December 1, 2014 for individuals born after December 1, 1964, and December 1, 2017 for everyone else.


After the 2014 and 2017 dates, Federal agencies will no longer accept a driver license or ID card unless it is Real ID compliant. This means you will not be allowed to board commercial flights or enter federal facilities unless you have a REAL ID compliant document. learners


Florida has met the 18 material compliant requirements of REAL ID.

I Have My Learners Permit. Now Let Me Drive.

To the seasoned driver, right hand turns, merging into traffic, pulling into a parking space, complete stops at stop signs are all driving maneuvers that comes natural. To many seasoned drivers they’re probably not even consciously aware they’re performing those driving tasks. But, to the 15-year-old who just got their Florida Learners permit, those maneuvers can be terrifying. Furthermore, hearing “I’ve got my permit. Now let me drive.” for the very first time will definitely put an icky feeling in any seasoned drivers stomach and here’s the reason why.


“Lets face some reality here, a lot of parents or husbands or well intentioned friends aren’t comfortable teaching people to drive. That’s not their career. In other words – they’re not trained nor certified – to instruct someone properly.,” said Paula Sylvester, Director of Instructor Training at Avanti Auto Driving School located in Boca Raton, Florida. “As a parent (or loved one) you need to keep in mind that you’re actually taking a life threatening risk. They [the parents or loved one] have practically zero control of the vehicle. All they can do if confronted with a life or death situation is one of two things: Grab the wheel – which is unlikely they will do such a thing – or – start talking in a louder than natural voice, which makes most new drivers even more nervous. Then, there’s option number three, which I jokingly share with those who call is: Tuck and roll. Most of the times they get it. And, to those who don’t I put it in simple lay terms” pausing for a moment as she sips her coffee, “Abandon ship! We know that having zero control of the vehicle in addition to not having the years of teaching experience like we have under our belt worries most parents and loved ones, and driver’s ed is a good solution and starting point for any driver at any age. Driver’s ed lets us teach all new drivers the skills needed to drive safely and defensively in addition to showing them how to react to certain situations,” Sylvester  said. “It’s a win-win situation for all parties involved including those we’re sharing the roads with.”


At Avanti Auto Driving School students learn how to make turns, drive on residential and city surface roads, merge into traffic, drive on the highways and, if the parents want – because the State of Florida does not require it – teach them how to parallel park. Which, as far as Avanti is concerned, learning how to parallel park is an excellent skill to have and know. They even boast about having the best road test review course in the state. But, she’s not hesitant to warn parents that even though their teen could demonstrate – to the state – the proper driving maneuvers that would qualify them to obtain a drivers license. What matters most is the new drivers experience behind the wheel – no matter what their age may be – is what matters most.  According to Sylvester “We could teach a chimp how to pass the road test exam and they’ll get a license. Does that make the chimp a good driver?”


Avanti Auto Driving School also wrote and developed their own 30 hour on line drivers ed course that emphasizes Florida DHSMV road rules. “Believe me this course took me years to develop and it’s been in place at our school for over 10 years. The course is  awesome, not because I wrote it but because it focuses in on everything a teen or new driver needs to know. Originally, we were thinking about conducting a live classroom course but, with the schedule that the teens have today it’s virtually impossible to get them all in one room for 10 weekends straight or for several hours after school.” said Sylvester.  “Another reason why I developed this course was, all too often when teaching the live 4, 8 or 12 hour driving improvement courses I would hear either stupid license suspension reasons or, traffic ticket excuses. These excuses and license suspensions reasons was a direct result of not knowing the simple DHSMV road rules that everyone in the state of Florida must know and pass in order to get their learners permit. So, if a parent utilizes our school for the new driver certificate program – as a bonus – we not only provide excellent behind the wheel instruction but, we give them access to our on line course where the kids are actually learning the rules of the road so to speak,” Sylvester said. “ In total, they have 30 hours on line classroom and six actual behind the wheel driving instruction, which they’re not sharing the vehicle with other students. It’s actually six full hours of on the road driving and it goes by really fast.”


“Don’t get me wrong, those six hours are not enough to make you an excellent driver,” Sylvester points out. “To obtain a Florida drivers license, teens must drive with a parent or legal guardian for at least 50 hours with 10 of those hours conducted at night. Our course is the best starting point that any parent could ask for and is a supplement to the rest of the driving time needed in order to satisify the necessary state of Florida requirements.” She said.


“My parents were a little iffy about driving with me,” said 15-year-old Daniel. “I definitely feel more secure behind the wheel because of Avanti’s driver’s ed.”


“Generally, all of our students want to do well behind the wheel or, they want some extra instruction for the driving test. Some of our students are a little overcautious and others just need a little more instruction or some fine tuning. For the most part, all of our students do very well.” Sylvester said. “And that’s why everyone chooses Avanti!”


Mark Sylvester, an in-car instructor, has taught many first time drivers how to drive. He said the most difficult driving task to learn is knowing where your wheels are. “Right- and left- hand turns are the hardest thing for the students to get down,” he said. “If you don’t know where your wheels are you’re going to have a very difficult time. But, it’s also combining how to make a complete stop, how to and when to slow down, when to actually turn. Based on years of experience we’ve learned you have to be very literal with all new drivers when you’re teaching them how to drive. In other words you need to say exactly what they should be doing and why.”


Mark and fellow instructors Janine and Stephanie all agree that driver’s education should be mandatory for all first time drivers of any age.


“Learning how to drive is a life skill that will be continuously used for the rest of their life,” Sylvester said. “If a person drives for 60 years, I’d say that alone should make it important enough that they learn how to drive correctly and safely.”


“My parents signed me up to take driver’s ed,” said 16-year-old Kyle. “At first, I wasn’t too excited about it because I’ve been driving since I got my permit. But it’s actually helped me. Especially with parallel parking, that’s been hard to do.”


Sylvester said “One of the biggest misconceptions about a driver’s ed course is that it’s only for teens which is far from the truth. A learners permit is exactly what it is: A learners permit. And, learning a new skill that puts other people’s life’s in jeopardy shouldn’t be taken lightly by anyone including the state of Florida. Personally, we think all first time drivers – no matter what their age – should not only include the mandatory drug and alcohol course but include a drivers ed course too! That way all new drivers of any age could be exposed to – in general – the seriousness of driving, the tasks that are involved when driving and most importantly the possible consequences of making a wrong driving decision”.


Avanti Auto Driving School offers driver education and behind the wheel instruction 7 day’s a week excluding national holidays. Avanti’s office is open Monday – Friday from 9 – 5 pm. For more information, call (561) 338- 6400 or, (954) 783-8074.

DUI in Broward and Palm Beach County Down

Even though most people are responsible when they get behind the wheel – the DUI convictions – are still pretty high with the good news being: The numbers are getting lower each and every year.


Broward DUI Convictions


Down by 22%
Down by 30%


Palm Beach DUI Convictions


down by 6%
Down by 6%


State – Over all

Down by 5%
Down by 16%

The Ten Most Dangerous Intersections In Broward County

New drivers or, licensed drivers that are not familiar with certain areas might want to consider avoiding some intersections in broward county. When driving in a new or unfamiliar area, it’s best to not follow too close behind another driver, drive at a safe, comfortable speed and give yourself ample time to get to your destination.


No matter where you live, when driving, there’s always areas where you need to be extra alert and pay very close attention to even the smallest driving detail for safety sake. Below are broward county’s most dangerous intersections. When in these areas it pays to be alert!


Number 1 on the Ten Most Dangerous Intersections In Broward County is: Sunrise Blvd and Andrews Avenue.


Number 2 is Oakland Park Blvd. at 50th Avenue.


Number 3 is Sunrise Blvd and FEC railroad.


Number 4 is Atlantic Blvd and Federal Hwy. (U.S. 1)


Number 5 is Federal Hwy. (U.S. 1) and NE 26 St


Number 6 is Sunrise Blvd. and NW 31st Avenue.


Number 7 is Sunrise Blvd. overpass at I-95


Number 8 is State Road 7 (441) and NW 19th Street


Number 9 is U.S. 27 and Griffin Road.


Number 10 is Oakland Park Blvd. and NW 55th Avenue

Rain-X Latitude 8-In-1 Premium Graphite Coated Wiper Blade

Rain-X Latitude 8-In-1 Premium Graphite Coated Wiper BladeThese Specially blended graphite coated rubber blade delivers the ultimate smooth, clean, chatter free wipe. They have built in aerodynamic spoiler significantly reduces drag, noise and wind lift and prevents ice and snow build-up through the elimination of exposed metal components providing the Ultimate Visibility in Rain, Sleet and Snow. The durable rubber encased substructure increase wiper flexibility and adherence to the windshield in harsh conditions. Beam Blade with updated adapter system enable it to fit all 8 of the different wiper arm clips.


For me, these are great especially in Florida! The price on Amazon is very reasonable. I think I saved about $6 per blade by not getting them at the auto parts store. I feel strongly that these wiper blades should be one of the items that Amazon lets you “Subscribe” to, so you could have them delivered every six months or so. In Florida during the rainy season clear visibility is a must have when driving in your car!!


Click here to buy from Amazon

Heavyweight Classic Messenger Bag – Olive Drab

Heavyweight Classic Messenger Bag - Olive DrabMessenger/Map Bag with Large Front Pocket, 1 side pocket on each side; 3 Outside Pockets, Adjustable Shoulder Strap. Here’s the skinny … I bought this bag for myself to use to carry my laptop to and from my friends house when collaborating on projects. What you see in the picture is exactly what you get. This bag is well made  and designed out of heavy canvas and typically referred to as a messenger bag. It has two pockets on the outside of the bag under the flap, and another small pocket in the interior of the bag.


If you are looking for a lot of padding this is not the laptop bag for you. However, if you’re careful with your belongings (like me) and don’t need much protection this is exactly what you’re looking for. Additionally, it’s very stylish and I think it’s a good buy for the price!


Price: $49.75

Click here to buy from Amazon

Kidde FA110 Multi Purpose Fire Extinguisher 1A10BC

Kidde FA110 Multi Purpose Fire Extinguisher 1A10BCProtect your home and car with Kidde Fire Extinguishers. As a driving school (and for safety purposes) we highly recommend at least one fire extinguisher for every car.  This fire extinguisher is designed to fight basic fires common to the home and cars, including those involving fabrics, plastics, wood, flammable liquids, and electrical equipment. It is fitted with an easy-to-read pressure gauge that tells you the fire extinguisher is charged. A clear instruction label clearly shows the steps required to operate the extinguisher.


In an emergency situation, you need a proven technology: a UL-rated fire extinguisher with a handle, a visible pressure gauge, and enough size and capacity to put out a common fire. These features are what makes a fire extinguisher the tool of choice for true fire suppression. Many aerosol can fire products may not be as reliable for fire protection, because they have a short shelf life (only three years in many cases), they do not provide a gauge to verify readiness, and they aren’t UL rated. If you are able to react to a small fire when it starts, chances are good that you can stop the fire with the right type of fire extinguisher. Always make sure your extinguisher is pressurized and close at hand for emergency use.


Price: $42.99


Click here to buy from Amazon

Angel Sales PosturePro Lumbar Support

Angel Sales PosturePro Lumbar SupportProtect and support the lumbar area of your back with the PosturePro. This lightweight support gently cradles your back and encourages correct posture. Ergonomic design gives firm and comfortable support while breathable mesh material circulates air to keep you cool. Elastic bands stretch to fit most standard-sized desk chairs. This lumbar support slips easily over car seats for a more comfortable ride. Perfect for long hours of driving, sitting, while traveling, working, watching television, sewing, scrapbooking, reading and more. You’ll want several, for the office, home, car and RV. Posture ProT helps reduce back and neck strain, promoting good posture for long hours of sitting at home, in the office or even in the car! Streamline lumbar support system cradles natural back curvature, forcing you to sit correctly. Adjustable for comfort. Breathable mesh fabric circulates cool air. 16 1/2 x 141/4 x 5 1/4″.


Price: $19.99


Click here to buy from Amazon

Eureka 71B Hand-Held Vacuum

Eureka 71B Hand-Held VacuumThere’s nothing more embarrassing to any vehicle owner when transporting guests in a messy car. Now there’s no excuse.  This hand-held but very powerful Eureka vacuum eliminates the hassle of lugging around a full-size vacuum for cleaning car upholstery, sofas, and carpeted stairs. It also has a long 20-foot cord (which wraps for storage) provides good reach, as does the deluxe hose that stretches to three times its length. The crevice tool on the end of the hose, reaches into all kinds of tight places.


One of Eureka’s innovations is the Riser Visor, a clear plastic cover that stays down for cleaning horizontal surfaces and flips up so the revolving brush can reach the vertical carpet on stair risers. There’s no bag to change, just a filter and clear plastic dust cup to shake out when necessary.


Remove deeply embedded dirt from anywhere in your home or car. Ideal for cleaning stairs and auto upholstery, this hand vacuum cleans with the help of a revolving brushroll with Riser Visor, a stretch hose and attachments for getting into tight spaces. The onboard crevice tool gets into those places too small for the brushroll.


Price: $59.99


Click here to buy from Amazon

Emergency Thermal Blankets (4 Pack)

Emergency Thermal Blankets (4 Pack)It typically happens when you least expect it. It happened in Chicago and it could happen again. Will you be prepared?


This compact blanket provides warmth (retains and reflects up to 90 of body heat), a waterproof and windproof shelter barrier, and a covering to help reduce shock when someone is injured.


I’ve played around with a couple of different brands of space blankets and these blankets are made much better than what you’ll find out in the world. Of course they suffer the usual short comings – i.e., (tears spread easily) but on the grand scale of space blanket brands, you are getting a top quality product.


Additional Emergency Blanket Uses


If you’re a camper and you want to make a solar oven this is the product to use. If you want to increase the temperature in your sleeping bag by 20 degrees? Put the blanket INSIDE the bag. You can make emergency ponchos when backpacking, ground cloths, signal devices, sun awnings (which they cool things down), use as insulation for coolers, make an animal shelter … etc. The uses are limitless. Great for camping, hiking, and surviving the cold outdoors. Excellent as liner of sleeping bag.


Price: $9.80


Click here to buy from Amazon