Lawmakers are trying to crack down on drivers stuck in the left lane.
At a hearing, the Senate Transportation Committee approved SB 464, which would make it illegal for drivers to operate their vehicles in the furthermost left lanes when the speed limit is at least 65 mph and there are at least two lanes of traffic moving in the same direction.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Keith Perry, argued his proposed legislation is necessary because current law is difficult to enforce and safety concerns exist when people stay too long in the left lane, causing other drivers to pass on the right side and get into car crashes.
“The real issue we have … passing on the right hand side causes a lot of accidents,” said the Republican from Gainesville. He cited 17,404 crashes resulting from passing on the right in Florida in the past five years.
“The intent of this bill is to discourage people from staying in that (left) lane where we have people passing on the wrong side. We have road rage.”
The bill makes exceptions for emergency vehicles, construction and highway maintenance. Driving in the HOV lane, or high-occupancy lane, would still be allowed, according to a bill amendment approved Monday. It would also be OK for drivers to use the furthermost left lane to pass or exit the road.
Under the bill, drivers who violate the law could get fined and get ticketed for a noncriminal traffic infraction.
“The statutory base fine is $60, but with additional fees and charges, the total penalty may be up to $158,” according to Florida Senate staff analysis of the bill.
During Monday’s hearing, one lawmaker asked Perry if there were already laws on the books to prohibit left lane drivers.
“Yes, but it’s kind of ambiguous on those laws that you have to be knowingly inhibiting traffic,” Perry said. “So this makes it a little bit more clear on that. … (The current law) is not working and it’s hard to enforce.”
Staff analysis warned Perry’s bill was vague.
“The word ‘continuously,’ as used in the bill, seems vague and is likely open to challenges as to what distance or time period constitutes continuous operation, especially before a driver passing another vehicle would be deemed to have gone safely far enough past to be in violation,” staff analysis said.
Perry argued his bill isn’t “perfect.”
“There’s no laws that are,” he said.
Other lawmakers still supported it at Monday’s committee meeting.
“Being on the left lane is a real irritation and causes a lot of anger and frustration,” Sen. Doug Broxson said.
Terry L Kelley
March 27, 2023 at 3:46 pm
Often drivers who stay in the left lane are doing the speed limit and may believe other drivers should also be content with driving at or below the speed limit. Most drivers often drive 5 mph or more above the speed limit. Does this mean that drivers obeying the speed limit can be ticketed if drivers exceeding the speed limit are passing them by using the right hand lane?
March 27, 2023 at 3:54 pm
You accurately raise the questions that demonstrate why this would be a dumb law. Which is also why we should expect Florida to codify it.
March 27, 2023 at 4:14 pm
You are not entitled to drive in the left lane. It is not a dumb law but you are likely a dumb driver.
March 27, 2023 at 4:13 pm
There are signs all over the State on multi-lane roads which say”
“Slower Traffic Keep Right”
This means that you yield (by moving right) to a vehicle coming behind you at a faster speed.
Drive Right, Pass Left.
March 27, 2023 at 4:22 pm
If you bother to read the rules, it does state in there that slower drivers move to the right. If people in the left are going faster than you, by law you are supposed to move over. If people driving on the left are going over the speed limit, that is not your problem. You are not the speed limit police.
March 27, 2023 at 3:52 pm
How about they crack down on the aggressive entitled drivers who are passing on the right and causing all these accidents? Road-raging jerks are the bigger problem on the roads today
March 27, 2023 at 4:15 pm
They wouldn’t be passing on the right if you weren’t driving in the left lane.
In what State did you barely learn to drive?
March 28, 2023 at 4:44 pm
If R’s are really interested in less less government and more “freedom,”, why didn’t they repeal the old “vague” law and institute this one?
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