Bill would clear Florida's left lanes

| Monday, December 19, 2005

A new effort intended to keep most drivers out of Florida’s fast lanes again is up for consideration in the state.

The Florida Legislature previously approved a bill this year intended to combat aggressive driving on the state’s multilane highways by reducing the number of drivers in the far left-hand lane. But Gov. Jeb Bush vetoed the effort when it was sent to his desk.

Bush said in his veto message that the measure would punish people driving the speed limit for not getting out of the way of speeders. He also said there’s no proof of a problem that would require such a rule.

The new effort – again dubbed the Road Rage Reduction Act – would give law enforcement more authority to ticket drivers who block traffic, even if they are driving the speed limit.

Opponents say the bill is “code for increasing speed limits” and supports the actions of speeding drivers rubbing up behind slower drivers. Supporters say the measure would avert dangerous situations where frustrated motorists stuck behind a slower-moving vehicle try to pass on the right.

Those who lag in the left lane could be ticketed and fined $60 with four points against their driver’s licenses.

The law would not apply when there are no other vehicles in the left lane.

Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, the bill’s sponsor, said the effort’s intent is simple.

“We’re trying to figure out a way to increase traffic flow and prevent citizens from accidents and road rage,” he told the Sun-Sentinel.

S224 has been referred to three Senate panels for review once the regular legislative session begins in March.

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