‘How would that work?’: Gov. DeSantis unsure about left lane driving ban

‘I’m going to talk to people that do this for a living, see whether they think it would be a benefit.’

Ron DeSantis isn’t sold on making the left lane on high-speed roads for passing only.

Asked whether he’ll sign legislation lawmakers just passed to ban continuous left-lane driving on highways with speed limits of 65 mph or more, the Governor said he’ll seek law enforcement input on the issue.

But on its surface, he said, some parts of the proposal give him pause.

“If you see somebody on the interstate that’s going 60 miles an hour in the left lane, obviously you know that can present a safety hazard,” he said Friday morning. “On the other hand, to force everybody over … even if you’re going the speed limit, and then we’re going to be pulling people over for that — how would that work?”

DeSantis said he plans to speak with Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director Dave Kerner and Col. Gary Howze, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol, to see what their opinion is.

“I’m going to talk to people that do this for a living, see whether they think it would be a benefit both in terms of safety, but we also want convenience too,” he said. “We want people to get where they can go as quickly and safely as possible. But then also enforcement — (is) that going to radically change how (law enforcement) do their job?”

Lawmakers Thursday approved HB 317, which would largely make the left lane on the Turnpike and similarly speedy and capacious thoroughfares exclusively for passing, turning, exiting and emergency and government use.

In cases where the leftmost lane is marked for high-occupancy vehicle use, the restriction would apply to the lane directly to its right. And naturally, that rule would apply only to roads with multiple lanes going in the same direction.

Violators would be liable for a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation with a $60 fine that could increase to $158 with additional fees and surcharges, a House staff analysis said.

The measure’s sponsor, Fort Myers Republican Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka, maintained Florida motorists have long wished for the restriction.

“If you have ever been frustrated by drivers camping out in the left lane on the interstate, then this bill is for you,” she said last week before House lawmakers voted 113-3 for the measure.

On Thursday, the Senate voted 37-0 for it. But some foresee problems arising if the bill becomes law.

Miami Gardens Democratic Rep. Christopher Benjamin, who voted “no” on the measure, told Florida Politics it will likely lead to reduced roadway capacity.

“The current law requires that when you are in the left lane and are given the signal to pass, then you must evacuate the lane. This new law will reduce all highways by one lane now, providing that the only time you can ride in the far-left lane will be to overtake someone and then return to the right lane,” he said.

“Governments have spent money on widening roads and increasing the number of lanes in order to help alleviate traffic. That will now be negated by this bill.”

Former Miami Herald Capitol Bureau Chief Mary Ellen Klas, now an opinion columnist for Bloomberg, had a different view of the bill’s implications.

“Visiting Florida? Drivers beware,” she wrote on X. “The entire highway system has just been designated a statewide speed trap.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Elmo

    February 23, 2024 at 12:14 pm

    You think people get upset about turtles in the left lane now? Wait until it is illegal. Guaranteed all hell is gonna break loose.

    • Dangerous florida

      February 23, 2024 at 12:37 pm

      Remember the young woman in the left lane on I-10 eastbound just outside Tallahassee and hit the lowered flatbed ramp at 75mph, launched 40 yards onto the median.

      Left lane incidents at 40% of three-lane data. Most cars need 175 feet to stop at 55mph, with no lag in reflex from the car ahead stopping. Almost no one can do it.

      • Bruno Gibilli

        February 24, 2024 at 10:50 am

        Difficult to enforce due to constant fluctuations in traffic flow .

    • Hank Williams

      February 23, 2024 at 8:47 pm

      So if I go at 80 Mph on a 70 Mph road on the left lane, I will have to move over for the car going 90 Mph? Also, as I move to the right lane, I will hit the car in front of me, going at 60 Mph. I am confused about how this is going to work.

    • ScienceBLVR

      February 23, 2024 at 2:09 pm

      Totally irrelevant to this discussion, but best line heard today in reference to Larry David attacking muppet Elmo, “Elmo’s not just a piece of cloth…in Alabama, Elmo is a child..

  • JD

    February 23, 2024 at 2:06 pm

    HAHAHA the legislative branch is not afraid of the big bad wolf anymore.

  • TJC

    February 23, 2024 at 2:09 pm

    I’m not a fan of DeSantis, but when the man actually says something — asks something — that makes sense, I’ve got to hand it to him. He’s right to question the wisdom of this proposed legislation. Aggressive drivers are going to believe they have the right to tailgate, honk, yell and scream at someone they believe is going too slow in the left lane. Elmo (above) is right, all hell is going to break loose.

    • Route Sixty-six

      February 23, 2024 at 8:04 pm

      Haha! When was the last time you left your hamlet? Tailgating, honking, and screaming, as well as gun waving are already common here on the Sunshine State’s highways. Get out and travel. Go visit someplace where this exists as law already. You might notice some semblance of order on the road.

      • TJC

        February 24, 2024 at 4:10 pm

        In my hurry to admit I finally agree with DeSantis on something, I overplayed my hand. The question he asks can be answered by research that the sponsors of this legislation should provide: how has this worked in other states that have similar laws, according to data from auto insurance companies (and law enforcement for road rage stats). If the number of accidents is shown to be lower after implementation of the law, then that’s great. And if auto insurance rates went down as a result of few accidents, that would be great, too. And if a noticeable “semblance of order on the road” is all that’s to be gained, maybe that’s good enough, too.
        DeSantis is right to ask the question, and he or his aides should be looking at the facts. The auto insurance industry has the facts.

  • PeterH

    February 23, 2024 at 2:33 pm

    Currently Florida police and State troopers abstain from stopping motorists on 95 and the Florida Turnpike because:
    1. Highways are so busy that pulling over a driver could further cause an accident!
    2. Police are aware that drivers may become annoyed and pull out their gun to confront an officer.

  • Tom Palmer

    February 23, 2024 at 4:14 pm

    This is all about saving a couple of minutes on your commute. Get a life..

  • Jacob Benjamin

    February 24, 2024 at 3:11 am

    This is so dumb. So they want the left lane empty? then there will just be a new left lane (the old middle lane). But I’m glad our representatives are working on the stuff like this that really matters and not the million other problems we’ve got.

    • Bruno Gibilli

      February 24, 2024 at 10:53 am


  • Dont Say FLA

    February 24, 2024 at 1:56 pm

    Rhonda doesn’t get it. Speed doesn’t kill. Two objects in motion having wildly different speeds when they collide is what kills.

    Maybe Rhonda needs a taxpayer funded trip to Germany to see how driving works. While he’s there, maybe he could check out some WWII historical sites and see what “historical” is really supposed to mean.

    You’d think he would of learned what “historical” meant when he got that Ivy League history degree, but no, i guess he just did the baseball and maybe somebody else attended classes and took tests while he handled his balls. I guess?

  • Traffic law

    February 24, 2024 at 2:18 pm

    Traffic law enforcement seems to be too confusing for Florida’s Ivy League educated attorney and Flop Gov.

    What happens is, somebody does something, cops see it, cops check their computer to see if the person is white or not, and if not, the cop hits the blue lights, unsnaps their holster, and initiates a stop.

    And they occasionally stop and even ticket white folks too, but that’s basically just for the “stops by race” numbers to look balanced.

  • Gerald Weber

    February 24, 2024 at 3:15 pm

    This is the dumbest traffic law yet.
    This will result in chaos on the road, and a boon to Florida‘s income from traffic fines.

  • Michael

    February 24, 2024 at 4:37 pm

    This is ridiculous.
    Coming from a guy who’s grandfather (rip) and brother were cops and are now retired…
    This is going to make the left lane a speeding utopia that the state benefits from with increased MONEY FLOW (which is the real reason this is being proposed)…

    1. Catch more people speeding in left lane for more ticket revenues

    2. Clog the right lanes even more for more usage of Sun pass express lanes for more revenues

    We are already WORSE in traffic than in Los Angeles due to the sudden influx of people in the last few years, the accidents, the never ending construction…and we don’t even have hills (at all) and curves as bad as like I-10 over there…now you want to limit the lanes even more and cause MORE TRAFFIC, MORE CHAOS of rubber necking etc. ???

Comments are closed.


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