Sunday, April 10, 2011


A bit of good news came out of the Florida legislature last week.
The state senate passed a bill that will require drivers on multilane highways to use the far left lane for passing only. They must move to the right to let faster vehicles pass them.
A similar bill was passed during Gov. Jeb Bush’s term, and Bush vetoed it. According to one report, Bush said he did so because drivers who hang out in the left lane are “cautious and careful.”
All politicians pretty much say stupid things from time to time, but I would say that particular statement ranks right up there in the top five.
Drivers who hang out in the left lane, even those going the speed  limit when others are going by them, are inconsiderate and stupid.
Restricting the left lane for passing reduces one of the more dangerous practices on interstates and other multilane expressways -- passing on the right.
When it comes to dangerous practices, I would say speeding (except in extreme cases, of course) is behind drivers who weave in and out of traffic trying to get past slower drivers lingering in the left lane.
Speeding may add to the intensity and damage sustained from car crashes. Weaving in and out of traffic, however, causes them.
As for the argument that this bill would encourage drivers to speed, I frankly don’t see the cause-and-effect relationship here. You either going to obey the speed limit strictly or you’re not.
I’m not saying you should rip along I-95 at 120 mph, but if you are within 10 mph of the limit and come across a slower vehicle, you should be able to have a clear passing lane to your left and not have to chance it passing on the right.
Conditions -- weather, heavy traffic, poor road surfaces, construction areas, etc. -- are a better determinant for your vehicle’s speed than arbitrary limits any way. Keeping up with the flow of traffic is more important, too.
The bill, which passed by a 37-1 vote in the Senate, now goes to the House, where a similar bill has been filed.
What’s going to be interesting to see if it passes is how it is enforced. There’s a law in Florida that emergency flashers are to be used only in cases of, well, emergency, say when you are stopped alongside the road or going at a much slower pace (below 45 mph on an interstate) than accompanying traffic, not just in a heavy rain, which is what many misguided folks today do.
It is very distracting to fellow drivers.
I haven’t heard of anyone being ticketed for it, though.
My advice: Use your headlights or get off the road. Or both.
This is the end of today’s rant.

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