Watch out, all you slow left lane drivers.
A new bill making it easier for law enforcement to pull over highway drivers hogging the fast lane is moving through the Senate.
The Senate Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations Committee approved SB 464 by an 11-1 vote during Wednesday’s hearing.
“The goal is to have people stay out of the left lane. That’s not where you’re supposed to be driving. That’s more of a passing lane,” said bill sponsor Sen. Keith Perry.
His bill makes it illegal for drivers to stay in the furthermost left lanes if they aren’t passing other cars when the speed limit is at least 65 mph and there are at least two lanes of traffic moving in the same direction.
“This is a safety act. This is to decrease right-side passing which has proven to be very dangerous. Hopefully it will minimize road rage,” Perry said. “You can drive in that (left) lane, but a police officer or highway patrol could give you a ticket.”
Between 2018 and 2022, more than 17,000 crashes were caused by drivers passing on the right, Perry said.
The bill helps law enforcement by clarifying the existing law and makes it easier to ticket people who won’t move over on the highway.
“You can’t really enforce what’s on the books now,” Perry said because of the vague wording and drivers making excuses they didn’t know.
Current law says left-hand drivers must be “knowingly impeding traffic,” the Gainesville Republican told lawmakers.
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.
The bill makes exemptions for people driving on the left side to use the express lanes and HOV lanes, as well as special permission to use the left lane for emergency vehicles, construction and highway maintenance.
No one spoke out against the bill during Wednesday’s hearing.