Florida lawmaker targets lane 'zippers'

| 1/9/2007

Those motorists who speed up beside you then cut you off when their lane ends are once again the target of legislation in Florida.

Sen. Steve Geller, D-Hallandale Beach, has filed a bill that could earn offending drivers, commonly referred to as "zippers," a ticket.

Another bill being offered by Geller would allow certain truckers access to high-occupancy vehicle lanes.

The bill - S200 - would authorize any vehicle, including light-duty trucks, fueled by biodiesel or natural gas to use the special lanes.

As for the zipper bill, Florida law already makes it unlawful to cross a solid line to pass another vehicle. But Geller has proposed expanding the law to make it a moving violation to cut in line in front of other drivers.

The bill - S172 - would apply to drivers who are "exiting or entering a roadway, merging, or traveling through a designated construction zone."

This is Geller's third attempt at getting stricter rules through the Legislature.

He originally introduced a similar bill in response to his experience driving to a Marlins playoff game. As he waited to exit the Florida Turnpike, 90 minutes before game time and with the stadium in sight, no one was moving - except the people who were cutting around Geller and other people in line.

"All these jerks were just zooming by on the left," he said at the time.

The effort has yet to make it out of committee. In hopes that this year will be different, his latest effort is awaiting assignment to a committee for consideration during the session that begins in March.

- By Keith Goble, state legislative editor