Left lane driving ban bill clears hurdle in Florida legislature

The state of Florida is set to crack down on life in the fast lane.

The Florida legislature has passed a bill that would ban motorists from cruising in the left lane of highways, sending it to Gov. Ron DeSantis for his signature. The bill passed unanimously in the state Senate 37-0.

"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," bill sponsor state Sen. Keith Perry (R) said Thursday, according to The News Service of Florida. 

Under HB 317, drivers on a road, street or highway "with two or more lanes" where the speed limit is "at least 65 miles per hour … may not operate a motor vehicle in the furthermost left-hand lane, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle; when preparing to exit … or when otherwise directed by an official traffic control device."

The restriction would not apply to high occupancy lanes.

The legislation was sponsored by Republican state Reps. Jenna Persons-Mulicka and Melony Bell in the House and Perry in the Senate. 

Anyone found to be in violation of the law would face fines for a moving violation, with fines up to $158, according to the bill text.


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There is an exception for authorized emergency vehicles and vehicles "engaged in highway maintenance or construction operations." 

Perry said the measure is intended to improve highway safety. "Last year we had 247 instances where people were either incapacitated or deaths that happened from improper passing on the right-hand side on someone’s blindside," he told Action News Jax last week.

Should DeSantis sign the bill, Florida would join eight other states where it is currently illegal to drive in the left lane except for turning left or passing, according to AutoInsurance.org. States with those restrictions include Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and West Virginia.

"Driving is a pretty uniform practice across the United States, so most of us don't think twice before crossing new state lines. However, many states have their own traffic laws that pose legal penalties and physical dangers if not obeyed," said Jeffrey Johnson, an insurance lawyer. 

Vehicles in the left-lane can cause dangerous situations for other drivers when they move slower than the flow of traffic. A driver that attempts to pass someone on the right-hand side risks causing an accident by moving through the slower left-lane driver's blind spot.

For that reason, 27 states require drivers to stay right if they are moving slower than the cars surrounding them.