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A new bill has been introduced by a Florida lawmaker that can penalize drivers for driving continuously in the left lane even when they are not passing any traffic. Introduced by Florida Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka, the bill was filed in the house on January 24.

Currently, drivers are supposed to move over to the left lane to ensure faster movement of traffic. But in case the bill is passed and becomes law, the left lane would be designated solely for passing other traffic. And failure to do so can lead to penalties.

At present, many residents in Florida are frustrated by drivers driving slowly through the left lane and not shifting to the right lane to let another car pass through. Therefore, some regard this bill as a welcome relief.

While Florida is among the many states within the US that have laws directing drivers to move away from the left lane to allow another car to pass, the failure to do so is only punishable as a noncriminal traffic infraction. However, if the new bill known as House Bill 421 becomes law, the state will become the newest entrant among the states that have made it illegal for drivers to cruise through the left lane continuously. At present, 8 states in the US have laws penalizing such actions.

Marcel Dery, who was driving on I-75 in Florida found drivers cruising on the left lane a major problem while driving. Dery is originally from Massachusetts, a state which has made it illegal to drive slowly in the left lane. He said, “It takes getting used to, because you would like to keep going as fast as you can in the left-hand lane,” Dery said, “But you have to be aware that if you’re not pulled over there’s a chance that the police will pull you over.”

Supporters of the bill have pointed out statistics showing that drivers having to slow down and change lanes can cause a greater traffic hazard than speeding. Research conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation has found that the relative change from the average traffic speed is the strongest predictor of an accident. It further states that a vehicle driving at a speed 5 mph slower than surrounding traffic has a higher chance of causing a traffic crash than a vehicle that is going 5 mph faster.

And according to some Fort Walton Beach car accident lawyers, the new bill can possibly help decrease the number of traffic accidents resulting from drivers cruising through the fast lane. However, not all are in favor of the bill becoming law. According to some opponents of the bill, the roads of the state are already very congested, and taking away the left lane may further deteriorate the situation. A commuter, Tabby Febus, is of the opinion that the bill will only bring more trouble. He thinks that it may increase road rage and congestion, adding to the frustrations of the commuters.

Another person, Tom Conner, thinks that the law might be a good idea although he isn’t optimistic that it’ll work. In his words, “I just don’t think it’ll work because you’ve got so many people that are driving in the left lane better so fast you’re just gonna have a continuous flow of traffic anyway.”

As per the official bill, people driving on streets and highways with multiple lanes and a speed limit of at least 65 mph would need to stick to the right side of the road. A similar bill was introduced in the last legislative session, too, however, it did not receive final approval. The current bill is an improved version, and the sponsor is optimistic that it might make it through this year.

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