Florida Legislator Floats Making Left Lane Driving Pass-Only

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December 29, 2023 - Auto Accidents

A new bill in Florida would strictly limit the use of the left lane on multi-lane roadways, a move that proponents say will boost safety for drivers, passengers and others.

The legislation, introduced in November, would limit the use of the left-most lane “except when overtaking and passing another vehicle; when preparing to exit the road, street, or highway; or when otherwise directed by an official traffic control device.” It would impose fines of up to nearly $160 on drivers who violate those restrictions.

“All of us who travel back and forth to Tallahassee experience frustration on the major highways and frustration caused by drivers impeding the flow of traffic in the left lane,” Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka (R-Fort Myers), the bill’s sponsor, told the Tallahassee Democrat.

“This creates a dangerous situation when drivers unnecessarily camp out in the left lane,” Persons-Mulicka added. “It leads to blocking traffic flow, less predictability, more encounters, more passing maneuvers and more opportunities for accidents.”

If passed, the new limits would apply to roads with speed limits of 65 miles per hour or higher. It would exempt emergency, maintenance, or construction vehicles and drivers. The measure would also permit all drivers to use left lanes when needed to avoid obstructions. 

The bill is expected to be considered during the 2024 legislative session, which begins in 2024. It was approved by the Transportation & Modals subcommittee and sent to the Infrastructure Strategies committee in the House. A companion version in the Florida Senate was referred to the Transportation, Criminal Justice and Rules committees.

It appears to face an uphill climb. At least three previous efforts to impose such restrictions have stalled in previous legislative sessions, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

In June, Gov. Ron DeSantis in June signed HB 425, a bill updating the state’s “move over” law. 

The law forces drivers to move over at least one lane when safe to do so for stopped law enforcement, emergency responders, and sanitation and utility service vehicles. Motorists are also required to move for tow trucks and wreckers, as well as certain maintenance or construction vehicles with displayed warning lights.

Beginning in January, drivers will be expected to move over for any disabled motor vehicle that is stopped and displaying warning lights or hazard lights, as well as those using emergency flares or posting emergency signage. 

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