A renewed effort to keep most drivers out of Florida's fast
lanes has again hit a stumbling block.
Sponsored by Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, the bill - S536
- is intended to combat aggressive driving on the state's multilane highways by
reducing the number of drivers in the far left-hand lane.
But for the fourth time in as many years, the effort has
failed to advance. The latest effort received a tie vote in the Senate
Transportation Committee, effectively ending its chances for passage this year.
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. A failure to stay to the right would be included
as one of the offenses that make up "aggressive careless driving."
Previous to this year, the bill died twice in committee and
was vetoed in 2005 by then-Gov. Jeb Bush. He said it would punish people who drive
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 right.
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.