Have you ever been caught behind a slow driver in the left lane? It goes without saying that it can be extremely aggravating and a true test of one's nerves. Sometimes it seems like South Florida drivers don't understand the rules of the road.
Well, thanks to a new Florida law, drivers going 10 miles per hour or slower in the "fast lane" will need to get out of the way to let cars pass. What if they don't? Slow drivers who fail to get out of the way will face a $60 ticket if they get pulled over by law enforcement.
That's right- you can get pulled over and ticketed for driving too slow.
The law was signed by Gov. Rick Scott in mid-June and will offically go into effect on July 1.
Existing laws required slower drivers to move to the right unless they were passing other vehicles or planned to turn left. Laws also require drivers to maintain a minimum speed of 40 mph on limited-access highways in Florida. The difference now is that there is a quantifiable standard for drivers in the left lane.
Karen Morgan, public policy manager for AAA, said that the organization is in support of the law because "it sets a standard for too-slow".
AAA also hopes that the new law will prevent drivers going the true speed limit from being unfairly ticketed for slowing speeding traffic. "At least [those drivers] will not be penalized," said Morgan.
The new law might reduce road rage, but will it increase safety for Florida drivers?
Sgt. Kim Montes of the Florida Highway Patrol said, “We don’t usually have people going too slow. It’s usually the opposite.”
Speeding is certainly a common cause for accidents and traffic tickets in South Florida, but nationwide studies have shown that crash risk actually increases more at driving speeds below the average traffic flow as opposed to above.
"Slow drivers are really a hazard," said John Bowman, a spokesman for the National Motorist Association. "They back up traffic. People become frustrated. They begin to tailgate and make sudden lane changes. It creates stop-and-go traffic conditions. Those are all causes of accidents."
"It's always been a road rule that slower drivers stay to the right," said Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Deborah Busbee. "[Safety is] our goal. It's not necessarily to harass just speeders or impaired drivers," she said. "We're out here trying to make sure everybody gets home safely every day."
In the past, while slow Florida drivers have been a recognized risk to traffic safety, they've rarely been ticketed as a consequence. Let's see how the new law changes the rules of the road.
If you think that you've been unfairly ticketed for driving the true speed limit in the left lane and have been accused of slowing the flow of traffic, please give us a call at 866-374-8355 or if you would like a FREE consultation, we're happy to talk to you.