Volusia County considering options for implementing 'Stupid Motorist Law'

Volusia County Council members voted Tuesday to direct staff to go back to the drawing board as talks continue about possibly implementing a law that would target drivers who require rescue after going around barricades and into floodwater.

A law like this already exists in Arizona, called the Stupid Motorist Law. According to that law, a driver who goes around a barricade could pay up to $2,000 for the cost required to remove them from their car and/or remove the car itself.

Council member Danny Robins supports bringing a similar measure to Volusia County.

"If you make stupid decisions or play stupid games, you win stupid prizes," he told FOX 35 last week.

But not every council member is on board. 

"I haven't heard from staff that this is a huge problem here in Volusia County. That never came out in any of my conversations," council member Troy Kent said at a meeting Tuesday. "I appreciate that it was brought up, but I don't see any reason to waste any more time on it."

County staff says Florida law essentially prohibits the county from asking people to pay a fine because they are rescued. But a way to circumvent that, staff says, is by including the law only as part of an emergency order during a state of emergency, like before or after a hurricane, which is what the council is having staff look into.

Still, questions remain about how law enforcement officers would use their discretion if the law is ever implemented in the county.

"I think we're going to have a problem figuring out who to fine and who not to fine," council member Jake Johansson said. "I'm going to have a hard time coming to grips with the 18-year-old in a four-wheel drive having fun and screwing up and the mother who's just scared to death and makes a bad decision."