For the Third Year, Lawmakers Are Trying to Ticket Left Lane Slowpokes

Some Florida lawmakers say it’s time to get serious about road rage. A bill under consideration at the Capitol aims to ease your frustration on the highway by cracking down on slowpokes in the left-hand lanes.

But critics question whether you should be penalized if you’re driving the posted speed limit.

It always seems to happen when you’re in a hurry; someone in the left-hand lane, like me and my photographer, slowing down traffic and forcing you to pass on the right. In this case, we were driving the posted 60 miles per hour in a construction zone, which was too slow for just about every other vehicle on the highway.

Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp supported a bill while he was a state representative to crack down on the left-lane slowpokes with the goal of trying to cut the incidents of road rage.

“I think we’re concerned about safety on the roadways, and anything we can do to make the roadways safer, we should do.”

Supporters are trying for the third year in a row to get the bill signed into law. Formerly known as the Road Rage Reduction Act, it’s now called the Highway Safety Act. It also stiffens penalties for aggressive careless driving and requires a public awareness campaign.

But not everyone’s on board with the bill. The slowpoke in the left lane may be aggravating, but he is still following the speed limit.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush actually vetoed the bill in 2005 out of concerns it would punish the wrong people. Motorist John Russell agrees.

“I think the law sounds kind of stupid. I mean, I think out of courtesy you should pull over, but to get ticketed for going the speed limit does not really seem right.”

Lawmakers will have to weigh whether people like us slowing down traffic deserve to be ticketed just like the guy speeding through construction zones.

Police say three sections of existing law already require you to drive in the right-hand lane unless you’re overtaking a slower vehicle or preparing to turn left, but the Highway Safety Act’s sponsor, Bradenton Senator Mike Bennett, says his bill would include specific penalties.

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