Drivers frustrated by slow motorists rejoice.
A massive transportation bill signed late Wednesday by Gov. Rick Scott will require slow drivers to move out of the left lane or face potential fines.
The bill bars left-lane drivers from going more than 10 mph below the speed limit if they know they are being overtaken from behind by faster-moving vehicles. It includes exceptions, such as when drivers are preparing to turn left at intersections. But a House analysis says violators of the new requirement could face $60 fines.
Sgt. David Velez, a spokesman for the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, said the agency would enforce any new laws as they are applicable. Still, he said Lee deputies don’t see many calls from drivers frustrated other motorists are driving slow in the left lane.
“If we do get a tip, it is usually concern for an impaired driver,” he said. “We investigate all incidents, though.”
A spokeswoman for the Collier County Sheriff’s Office and a local spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol did not want to comment on the bill because their legal staffs need to review the law.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush in 2005 vetoed the “Road Rage Reduction Act,” which was similar to the bill that Scott signed. That bill required slower-moving drivers to get out of the left lane to make way for motorists traveling faster.
In his veto message, Bush questioned why the state would punish a law abiding driver. He also said it could have an adverse impact on tourists.
“The predominate shortcoming of the bill is that it seeks to provide relief for those traveling at high rates of speed, or possessed of emotional temperance at the expense of cautious and careful drivers,” Bush wrote at the time.
This is not the first law to affect drivers in the left lane, at least in Collier County. In 2003, commissioners passed a law banning trucks in excess of five tons from the left lane of multilane Collier roads except when they are passing or preparing to make a left turn.
The proposal was hotly debated at the time, with Golden Gate Estates residents saying they were tired of dump trucks in the area blocking both lanes of traffic, especially during rush hour. Dump truck drivers complained the new law would hurt their businesses by slowing them down and also create a safety problem.
The News Service of Florida and The Associated Press also contributed to this report.
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