A Florida state lawmaker has renewed his effort to keep most
drivers out of Florida's fast lanes. This is the fourth year in a row the bill
has been offered in the state.
Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, is hopeful this is the year
it will be approved. The bill - S536 - is intended to combat aggressive driving
on the state's multilane highways by reducing the number of drivers in the far
Dubbed the "Highway Safety Act," it would give law
enforcement more authority to ticket drivers who block traffic, even if they
are driving the speed limit in the left lane. A failure to stay to the right
would be included as one of the offenses that make up "aggressive careless
The bill died twice in committee and was vetoed in 2005 by
then-Gov. Jeb Bush. He said it would punish people who are driving the speed
limit for not getting out of the way of speeders.
Bennett has since changed the bill to address some of the
The measure would prohibit travelers from driving in the
left lane of a multi-lane highway when they are about to be overtaken by
another vehicle. Previously, the bill allowed law enforcement to issue
citations to drivers who used the left lane for anything other than passing.
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 bill also changes, from two to three, the number of
driving offenses that must be committed at one time to constitute "aggressive
Violators would face a $100 fine in addition to any other
fines. Repeat offenders would face as much as a $500 fine and a mandatory court
appearance. Drivers also would receive points for each offense committed.
The bill is awaiting assignment to committee for the session
that begins in March.