Florida law covers road safety, privacy

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Thursday, June 26, 2014

On Tuesday, July 1, new rules in Florida kick in that cover left lane use, license plate readers, and a new vehicle decal program.

Gov. Rick Scott signed HB7005 into law. One change included in the lengthy transportation bill allows police to ticket people driving slow in the far left lanes on interstates and highways.

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

As of the first of the month, drivers on multi-lane roadways are required to move to the right if they are being overtaken by another vehicle. Drivers traveling the speed limit will also be required to yield to vehicles exceeding the posted speed limit.

A separate rule change expands 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.

Utility service vehicles and sanitation vehicles are being added to the protected list.

Another change places guidelines on the use of automated license plate readers. The technology is used to capture the date, time and location of scanned vehicles.

Specifically, a statewide policy must set the length of time that the records of innocent people could be kept.

One more change is intended to provide emergency responders with access to critical medical information in the moments following vehicle wrecks.

Counties will 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 will provide emergency responders with critical health information for drivers who sign up for the program.

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

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