HomeFlorida NewsNew bill awaiting Gov. DeSantis's signature specifies when drivers can use the...

New bill awaiting Gov. DeSantis’s signature specifies when drivers can use the highway’s left lane


Florida – Florida is on the brink of joining a select group of states aiming to enhance highway safety through legislative action. A new bill, which is now awaiting Governor Ron DeSantis’s signature, targets motorists cruising in the left lanes of highways, a practice known to disrupt traffic flow and increase the risk of accidents.

Passed unanimously by the Senate with a vote of 37-0, and by the House with a significant majority of 113-3, the bill (HB 317) specifies that it applies to highways that have a minimum of two lanes for the same direction of travel and with speed limits of 65 mph or higher. Senate sponsor Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, underscored the bill’s primary goal: to bolster highway safety. Perry explained the rationale behind the bill, stating, “If someone in the left lane is going slower, and you pass them (on the right), you are creating an infraction and you can get ticketed.”

Under the new legislation, the use of the left lane will be restricted to drivers who are passing other motorists, preparing to exit the highway, turning from left lanes, or when they are directed to use the left lane by law enforcement or traffic control devices. Additionally, the bill clarifies that high occupancy vehicle lanes are not considered as the “furthermost left-hand lane,” and sets the penalties for violations up to $158.

The bill also accommodates exceptions for authorized emergency vehicles and those engaged in highway maintenance or construction operations, ensuring that these services can continue their duties without hindrance.

Should the bill receive Gov. DeSantis’s approval, Florida will align with eight other states that have already enacted similar restrictions on left-lane driving. These states include Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and West Virginia, as reported by AutoInsurance.org. The rationale is straightforward: vehicles that linger in the left lane at speeds slower than the general flow of traffic can create hazardous conditions, particularly when drivers attempt to overtake from the right, potentially leading to accidents due to blind spots.

This legislative effort reflects a broader trend across 27 states that mandate slower-moving vehicles to keep to the right, ensuring smoother and safer highway travel for all.

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