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Traveling slower in fast lane? Look out

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Traveling slower in fast lane? Look out

TALLAHASSEE -- Slow drivers in the fast lane had better beware.

You're the latest threat to motorists' sanity and one of the leading causes of road rage, state lawmakers say.

As a result, lawmakers are moving to make it illegal to drive the speed limit or lower in passing lanes if doing so holds up the natural flow of traffic.

Under the bills before House and Senate committees, the violation would be punishable by a $60 ticket and four points on your drivers license.

"We're not trying to encourage speeding," said Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, who is sponsoring the so-called "Road Rage Reduction Act" (SB 732). "We're trying to encourage safety."

Representatives from the Florida Highway Patrol and Police Benevolent Association endorsed the bill because it would give law officers another way to keep traffic moving.

"Right now, we can't do anything about it," said Ed Collins, a lobbyist for the police association.

The measure passed unanimously out of the Senate's transportation committee Wednesday and also is progressing in the House (HB 157), steered by Rep. Ken Sorensen, R-Marathon.

Even so, some members showed reluctance to give too much of a green light to speeders.

"This high-speed person comes up behind you, and you wonder if they're going to come through your car," said Sen. Larcenia Bullard, D-Miami, a co-sponsor of the bill. "We've got to do something to stop it. If you want to become a race-car driver, then go to the tracks."

Bennett agreed that speeders also need to be punished with tickets, but he admonished motorists who think that driving slow in the fast lane is a way to thwart speeding.

In fact, he said, slow driving has the potential to cause just as much havoc as the motorist who puts the pedal to the metal.

"Move over," Bennett said. "Don't try to be the law enforcement."

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I 100% hope this will pass as soon as possible.

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They HAVE to pass this law!! I agree 100% that this could help to alleviate a large amount of road rage.

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Perhaps they should worry about the lack of police in Florida, the reckless driving on our freeways, pedestrian deaths, etc before they worry about people driving the spead limit in Florida. They are only validating road rage with this proposal.

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Centenarian defies notion that she is too old to drive

By Stephen Hudak | Sentinel Staff Writer

Posted March 18, 2005

DELAND -- Ann Ladd's sun-faded Dodge Dynasty lumbered into the fast lane of International Speedway Boulevard, accelerating quickly to 55 mph, but apparently not quickly enough.

A forest-green Mustang zigzagged around her car, nearly grazing her bumpers.

"Now, look at that one," Ladd said, noting the impatience of the driver who shot her a steely glare as he buzzed by at about 20 mph over the posted speed. "Is he on dope?"

Ladd steams along unrattled, obeying the speed limit devoutly no matter how much it irritates fellow motorists, who sometimes express hostility by tailgating or honking.

At 100 and without a ticket or accident in five decades, Ladd is proof older drivers can still safely navigate traffic and defy the common perception that age automatically reduces ability.

Ladd is far from the only centenarian licensed to drive. There are 352 others in the state -- 54 total in Central Florida -- although no one knows how many still get behind the wheel because some hang on to their license for identification. The state's oldest drivers are two men in Palm Beach County who are still licensed to drive at age 110, according to state officials.

Ladd also illustrates the challenges all older drivers face -- sharing the road with an increasingly impatient motoring public -- and the changes they must make to hang on to their keys and independence.

Under one proposal being debated in the Legislature, drivers such as Ladd could even be ticketed for driving the speed limit in the left lane.

The older driver is often vilified unjustly as a roadway menace by people whose perceptions are fueled by spectacular and tragic crashes, said Russ Rader, spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

"Contrary to conventional wisdom, older drivers are not a big threat to others out on the road," he said. "They are not behind the wheel killing others. They are most dangerous to themselves."

In many measures of road safety, older drivers rate very well. As a group, generally defined as those age 70 and up, they are less likely than younger drivers to speed, drive drunk, not wear a seat belt or hit the road at night, traffic-safety experts say.

Drivers 70 and older are also less likely to be in a fatal crash than drivers 44 and younger, according to national statistics from 2003, the most recent year for which information is available.

When they are involved in a fatal accident, however, they are much more likely to be the ones who die.

"Because of their fragility, they suffer the most severe consequences of their crashes," Rader said.

With the graying of baby boomers, older drivers are keeping their licenses longer and logging more miles than any previous generation of retired people, though still fewer than younger motorists.

Lyn McClure, who will turn 100 next month at John Knox Village in Orange City, vowed to park her car forever before she loses the physical and mental skills to handle the highway.

"I will never, never risk hurting somebody else," she said. "If that day comes, and I hope it never does, it'll break my heart, and I'll feel like a prisoner. But when I make a vow, I keep it."

But as more older drivers take to the road, they are increasingly seen as dangerous obstructions, said Bentley Lipscomb, AARP Florida state director.

"Why? Because they drive slower, and we want to go fast," he said.

Lipscomb cited a bill debated last week by the Florida Senate Transportation Committee that would let police ticket motorists who drive the speed limit in highway passing lanes.

Bill sponsor Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, touted the proposal -- which has many hurdles to clear -- as a way to reduce road rage by going after those who inspire it. Drivers who refuse to yield to faster traffic could get a fine and four-point license penalty, the same assessment imposed for reckless driving or passing a stopped school bus. Repeat offenders would risk their license.

"Guess who that's aimed at," Lipscomb said.

Growing older does not make drivers worse, just more likely to suffer medical problems that can affect their ability behind the wheel, said Wendy Stav, research coordinator at the National Older Driver Research and Training Center at the University of Florida.

"I've tested 62-year-olds who were worse healthwise and [as] drivers than 87-year-olds," she said. "The majority of the older population is fine. Very few are impaired. It's just that we hear about older drivers when tragedies like Santa Monica happen."

In July 2003 in Santa Monica, Calif., an 86-year-old man who said he mistook the gas pedal for the brake pedal plowed through a crowded farmer's market, killing 10 and injuring more than 60.

Unless their minds are clouded by dementia, most seniors are safe motorists who change decades-old habits to compensate for failing physical abilities, said Selma Sauls, an expert on older drivers with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

They drive less, avoid peak traffic and shun more-challenging roads.

"They drive the speed limit. They follow the rules," Sauls said. "Do the rest of us?"

Ladd, who learned to drive on dirt roads in a motorized buggy when Woodrow Wilson was president, senses the ire of other drivers but won't go faster.

"If you set the speed limit at 100, somebody'd have to go 110," she said after four cars passed her on the shoulder. "They're the ones who cause accidents: the weavers, the speeders."

She's right, said Maj. Ernesto Duarte of the Florida Highway Patrol, applauding the centenarian's driving habits.

Not only does she drive the speed limit, she also won't use the phone, listen to the radio or eat while she drives. She no longer drives long distances or at night, and she avoids the busiest roads and times.

She keeps both eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel. She mostly ignores hostile reactions of younger motorists perturbed at her pace.

The roads are simply full of drivers frustrated by traffic and rushed by obligations, Duarte said.

"We have deadlines to make and the kids to pick up," he said. "We have a lot of people in a hurry who need to relax."

Ladd proudly defends her own driving record: 85 years at the wheel, one accident -- and that was not her fault, she said. She was hit from behind at a stoplight in Dayton, Ohio, in the 1950s.

The DeLand resident said she has never had a ticket but "may have deserved one once or twice."

Ladd estimated she has driven more than a million miles, and she expects to add to the total with short weekly jaunts to the hairdresser, church or lunch with a friend.

She said that when she renewed her license in January, the clerks rooted for her to pass the mandatory eye test, the state's lone renewal requirement for drivers 79 and older. Her license is good for six years.

If the clerks had doubted her fitness to drive, they could have referred her for a skills exam, which would have required her to demonstrate she was physically and mentally able.

Her relatives say they worry more about the driving of others than of Ladd, a widow since 1997 who never had children. But her nieces and nephews still tease their beloved aunt about her license, which is as much a wonder to them as her remarkably red hair.

During a party celebrating Ladd's 100th birthday, a nephew's wife read a poem titled, "It's 2005 and Aunt Ann's Still Alive."

The verse included a good-natured warning:

To everyone's delight and surprise;

Watch out, she still knows how to drive.

So, if you value your life, my friend,

Drive very carefully around the bend.

Stephen Hudak can be reached at [email protected] 386-851-7915.

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When some old ladies or people talking on the cellphone and drive on the left lane at 30 mph on a 45 mph road, you have to agree it is very annoying. I wish I can restrict those people from driving. Other people are trying to go home to rest after work.

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It is illegal in FL already to fail to give way in the passing lane when approached from the rear by a faster moving vehicle. This of course is never enforced. I think if they would enforce this new law it would be a very good thing and would alleviate some traffic even. In Germany, they put a major premium on this b/c on the Autobahn you could get killed driving too slow in the left lane. Of course, they also have more restrictions on who can get a license too.

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Section 316.083, Florida Statutes

(2) Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the driver of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle, on audible signal or upon the visible blinking of the headlamps of the overtaking vehicle if such overtaking is being attempted at nighttime, and shall not increase the speed of his or her vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

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If I'm reading this right it seems there is some wiggle room if the roadway has more than 2 lanes in each direction... A traffic lawyer would have to clarify that.

The provision starts with "Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted," so the next section deals with, you guessed it:

-----

316.084 When overtaking on the right is permitted.--

(1) The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass on the right of another vehicle only under the following conditions:

(a) When the vehicle overtaken is making or about to make a left turn;

(b ) Upon a street or highway with unobstructed pavement not occupied by parked vehicles of sufficient width for two or more lines of moving traffic in each direction;

(c ) Upon a one-way street, or upon any roadway on which traffic is restricted to one direction of movement, where the roadway is free from obstructions and of sufficient width for two or more lines of moving vehicles.

(2) The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass another vehicle on the right only under conditions permitting such movement in safety. In no event shall such movement be made by driving off the pavement or main-traveled portion of the roadway.

(3) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation as provided in chapter 318.

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So if a car is driving very slow in front of it at the right lanes of any 2 lanes street, it is my right to honk or blink my headlight at her?

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This is the dumbest idea for a law I've ever heard. It doesn't take into effect people exiting the highway from the left hand land.

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I agree... As a faster driver, I like the idea of this law, but there's no way it could be successfully enforced. Most likely, the most that will come out of it is a few more "Slower traffic stay right" signs in the area, maybe with "Florida Law" attached to them...

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On the Florida Legislature website they have a copy of the new bill that they're proposing, known as the Road Rage Reduction Act. This is the House bill.. I haven't looked at the one the Senate is proposing. Section 316.081, Florida Statutes, contains the law that makes it a general requirement to to keep to the right and what the exceptions are.

This is what they want to add to the existing law:

(3)

(a) Upon a four-lane highway, an interstate highway, or a highway with fully controlled access, or the Florida Intrastate Highway System, a vehicle may not be driven in the left-hand lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle.

(b ) Paragraph (a) shall not apply:

1. When no other vehicle is directly behind the vehicle in the left-hand lane;

2. When traffic conditions and congestion make it impractical to drive in the right-hand lane;

3. When inclement weather conditions make it necessary to drive in the left-hand lane;

4. When obstructions or hazards exist in the right-hand lane;

5. When, because of highway design, a vehicle must be driven in the left-hand lane when preparing to exit; (this addresses Demon's concern about left exits).

6. On toll highways when necessary to use Sun-Pass and on toll and other highways when driving in the left-hand lane is required to comply with an official traffic control device; or

7. To law enforcement vehicles, ambulances, and other emergency vehicles engaged in official duties and vehicles engaged in highway maintenance and construction operations.

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Holy cow! :w00t: This is fantastic! I'm sorry, but if you're in the left lane and not going the speed limit OR not passing anybody, you are being UNSAFE. The left lane on a freeway is for passing and not CRUISING. Read your driver manual when you first took the license test.

That article about the old people being safe drivers completely forgets one important thing about driving. THERE IS MORE TO THE ROAD THAN WHAT'S IN FRONT OF YOU!!! These old people only pay attention to what is in front of them, and not behind them. Oh yeah, she's safe in the left lane, but she forgets that there are 2 miles of cars in a line behind her. These people create traffic jams! So, in this 2-mile line of cars, if one hits their break, blows out a tire, or loses control, a chain reaction occurs, and you end up with a 3-10 car accident!!

Get this law passed ASAP!

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I like the idea of this law, and I totally agree slower drivers have no business in the left-most (or fastest) lanes. But I don't see how this law could be reasonably enforced. I'd have to go with Jaybee on this one, there are bigger problems to tackle such as the roads themselves, traffic patterns, better pedestrian cross-walks, etc.

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It will just probably ended up being a law that nobody follow, then one person used it to sue someone, the law come into effect. Same as what happended to Buddy Dyer.

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On the Florida Legislature website they have a copy of the new bill that they're proposing, known as the Road Rage Reduction Act. This is the House bill.. I haven't looked at the one the Senate is proposing. Section 316.081, Florida Statutes, contains the law that makes it a general requirement to to keep to the right and what the exceptions are.

This is what they want to add to the existing law:

(3)

(a) Upon a four-lane highway, an interstate highway, or a highway with fully controlled access, or the Florida Intrastate Highway System, a vehicle may not be driven in the left-hand lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle.

(b ) Paragraph (a) shall not apply:

1. When no other vehicle is directly behind the vehicle in the left-hand lane;

2. When traffic conditions and congestion make it impractical to drive in the right-hand lane;

3. When inclement weather conditions make it necessary to drive in the left-hand lane;

4. When obstructions or hazards exist in the right-hand lane;

5. When, because of highway design, a vehicle must be driven in the left-hand lane when preparing to exit;   (this addresses Demon's concern about left exits).

6. On toll highways when necessary to use Sun-Pass and on toll and other highways when driving in the left-hand lane is required to comply with an official traffic control device; or

7. To law enforcement vehicles, ambulances, and other emergency vehicles engaged in official duties and vehicles engaged in highway maintenance and construction operations.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Does it state anywhere how long you're allowed to use the left hand lane prior to or after exiting or entering from the left hand lane?

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This has nothing to do with Road Rage, or Road Rage Redux, it's about ticketing people going the speed limit in the fast lane. Quite opposite of what is good for an urban environment. This is about as stupid as thinking that the person at the very end of a traffic jam would unclog the jam if they just went "faster". Hello, it's all about capacity for highways, and highways have greater capacity at lower speeds. So, if you are caught in a traffic jam, will they ticket anyone presumably going under the speed limit?

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This has nothing to do with Road Rage, or Road Rage Redux, it's about ticketing people going the speed limit in the fast lane.  Quite opposite of what is good for an urban environment.  This is about as stupid as thinking that the person at the very end of a traffic jam would unclog the jam if they just went "faster".  Hello, it's all about capacity for highways, and highways have greater capacity at lower speeds.  So, if you are caught in a traffic jam, will they ticket anyone presumably going under the speed limit?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

My experience has been the opposite -- people going less than the posted speed limit in the far-left lanes under normal driving conditions (clear day, medium to little traffic).

On an interstate highway or similar, there already is a minimum speed (usually 40 mph). Speed limits and minimums don't apply when safety conditions make it impossible or too dangerous to adhere to them. So a traffic jam, a torrential downpour, etc., would cancel them out temporarily. You can already be ticketed for driving too slowly, and you could also be ticketed for driving too fast in certain conditions (weather, traffic, etc) even if you were driving the posted speed limit.

Unfortunately we have a very erratic driving culture here in Florida. I just came back from a road trip to the DC area, and it seems like once you leave this state of ours, the "slower traffic keep right" rule is very much adhered to. Throughout my trip across the several states, motorists from other states shift to the right-hand lane when a faster vehicle is approaching them, like clockwork. It seemed that the only people on the road who didn't do this (yield to faster traffic) were the Florida drivers. In my other travels across the country, I found that motorists from other states followed this rule well.

It seems that there is no order here -- there are fast drivers mixed in the "slow lanes", and slow drivers in the "fast lanes". The fast drivers weave in and out of traffic, passing left and right, sometimes cutting across several lanes of traffic, some driving dangerously fast in the merge and exit lanes, etc. If a slow driver is in the fast lane, the faster vehicle will usually tailgate the slower vehicle for a few seconds, and if that person doesn't move over, the faster vehicle passes to the right and then almost immediately moves back over to the left.

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Unfortunately we have a very erratic driving culture here in Florida. I just came back from a road trip to the DC area, and it seems like once you leave this state of ours, the "slower traffic keep right" rule is very much adhered to. Throughout my trip across the several states, motorists from other states shift to the right-hand lane when a faster vehicle is approaching them, like clockwork.  It seemed that the only people on the road who didn't do this (yield to faster traffic) were the Florida drivers. In my other travels across the country, I found that motorists from other states followed this rule well.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

In SC, the "slower traffic keep right" rule is not adhered to very well at all. I have traveled back and forth across I-20, I-26, and I-77, and I have observed that many people don't give a damn if they are in the left lane clogging up faster people behind them.

And Jaybee, I hope that comment wasn't directed to me, but anybody can just watch and observe what happens when one car is going just-under or at the speed limit in the left lane when there are many cars on the freeway: TRAFFIC JAMS. I remember passing this one small truck (I was going 65 in a 60 zone) and he must have been going 55. After I passed him, he decided to get in the left lane. After a few minutes, I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw the SOURCE of a traffic jam. He was still in the left lane, not passing anybody and behind him was a massive line of cars about one mile long!

The point is if you are going slower and you need to pass another car, you speed up to the speed of traffic, turn in the left lane, pass the car, and turn back onto the right lane. That is Driving 101 in any state's driver's manual.

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House OKs citing slow drivers in fast lane

By Beth Kassab | Tallahassee Bureau

Posted April 1, 2005

TALLAHASSEE -- The House on Thursday approved a measure that would allow police to ticket drivers who are moving too slowly and blocking traffic in the fast lane.

Rep. Ken Sorensen, R-Key Largo, said he sponsored the bill to reduce road rage among motorists who are forced to weave around slow-moving left-lane drivers.

"This will save lives," he said.

But several members objected to the idea of ticketing people who are driving safely.

"Why would we want to ticket and fine and issue points against a driver that is using the speed limit?" asked Rep. Irv Slosberg, D-Boca Raton.

The bill (HB 157) would allow police to issue a $60 fine and four points against the license of someone who is blocking traffic in the left lane, even if they are driving the speed limit.

"This bill has nothing to do with speed," Sorensen said. "It used to be a courtesy to move over to the right."

The bill is endorsed by the Florida Highway Patrol and the Police Benevolent Association because it would allow police another way to manage traffic flow.

In the Senate, the Road Rage Reduction Act (SB 732) has made it through two committees and could be voted on by the full chamber as early as next week.

Beth Kassab can be reached

at [email protected]

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Posted on Sun, Apr. 03, 2005

LEGISLATURE

Last days of the fast lane?

State lawmakers are likely to pass a bill that would make it illegal to drive in the left lane, in an effort to reduce incidents of road rage.

BY ERICA RODRIGUEZ

[email protected]

TALLAHASSEE - Cruising in the fast lane may become a thing of the past for most Florida drivers, under a bill that's on the fast track for approval by the state Legislature.

Calling it the Road Rage Reduction Act, legislators want to make it illegal to drive in the left lanes of highways throughout the state. Violations would be considered noncriminal traffic infractions and punishable by fines and four points on the driver's license.

The House and Senate bills would require drivers to use the right-hand lanes of all four-lane highways at all times, unless they meet certain exceptions, among them:

EXCEPTIONS

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Have you driven on a highway lately? Traffic safety has a lot to do with the flow of traffic. The safest situation for a motorist is to have no other cars around. When someone is blocking the left lane, regardless of the speed limit, they will cause a build up in traffic which is an unsafe situation. This is already somewhat a law, but now they will actually enforce it. And it does cause road rage. Tons of it! I drive on interstates a lot. Cars will be bumper to bumper for a mile strentch going 70 mph. Being on guard like that will cause any driver to stress out. It causes impatience. All because some jerk is unaware that cars are behind him, or he just thinks they should not be going faster. It is absurd and is a serious problem on highways.

This has nothing to do with Road Rage, or Road Rage Redux, it's about ticketing people going the speed limit in the fast lane.  Quite opposite of what is good for an urban environment.  This is about as stupid as thinking that the person at the very end of a traffic jam would unclog the jam if they just went "faster".  Hello, it's all about capacity for highways, and highways have greater capacity at lower speeds.  So, if you are caught in a traffic jam, will they ticket anyone presumably going under the speed limit?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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I still don't understand. If i'm not mistaken you can't pass the speed limit, even when passing. so we'll just have a traffic jam of people going 70 in the right lane?

This encourages speeding more than anything else.

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Yes and no. But the speeding has nothing to do with the "logjam". People will speed. Like it or not. Cops usually won't even pull you over unless going 10+ miles over the speed limit. I have been told this first hand from a few cops. If someone chooses to speed, would you rather them be on your @$$, or passing you safely in another lane? The left lane is a passing lane plain and simple. If someone is breaking the law by speeding, a cop can still pull them over. It's not like cops aren't gonna pull speeders over, but IT WILL ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO MOVE OVER AND PROMOTE SAFER TRAVEL.

Another thing, there will NEVER BE A LOGJAM OF PEOPLE GOING 70 IN THE RIGHT LANE. To make that possible, everybody would have to go 70 mph. Along the way somewhere, someone will be going 60 mph, or 50 mph. What am I to do when someone is going 60 in the left lane, and someone is going 60 in the right lane? That will cause a decrease in the flow of traffic, and that situation is very feasible. Infact it happens all the time. So your scenario doesn't account for 100% of the time. People CAN PASS GOING THE SPEED LIMIT OR LESS!

I still don't understand.

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