Florida Legislature passes road safety, privacy effort

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 6/10/2014

A lengthy transportation bill on the Florida governor’s desk covers topics that include road safety and privacy concerns.

The House voted 106-3 to sign off on changes to a 79-page bill that would implement new rules on left-lane use and license plate readers, and set up a vehicle decal program. HB7005 now awaits Gov. Rick Scott’s signature. Senate lawmakers already approved it by unanimous consent.

One provision would allow police to ticket people driving slow in the far left lanes on interstates and highways.

Florida law now requires drivers traveling more than 10 mph below the posted speed to move to the right when they are about to be overtaken.

The bill would require any driver on multilane roadways to move to the right if they are being overtaken by another vehicle. Drivers traveling the speed limit would also be required to yield to vehicles exceeding the posted speed limit.

A separate provision would expand the types of vehicles covered under the state’s existing “Move Over” law. Since 2002, drivers in the state are required to slow down and shift lanes if possible to make room for police, ambulance and fire personnel alongside roadsides.

If signed into law, the bill would include utility service vehicles and sanitation vehicles in the protected list.

Another provision would place guidelines on the use of automated license plate readers. The technology is used to capture the date, time and location by scanning vehicles as they pass.

Specifically, the bill calls for a statewide policy to set the length of time that the records of innocent people could be kept.

Also included in the bill is a provision that would provide emergency responders with access to critical medical information in the moments following vehicle wrecks.

Counties would be authorized to seek funding and grants to set up a yellow dot decal program to help ensure proper medical treatment in situations where wreck victims may not be able to speak or are otherwise unresponsive.

Participation in the program would be voluntary and free.

Similar opt-in programs are available in more than 20 states, including Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania.

The Florida program would provide emergency responders with critical health information for drivers who sign up for the program.

Program materials would include a yellow decal for the window, a health information card, a yellow envelope and program instructions.

Copyright © OOIDA