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Left-lane drivers face penalties as officials seek to reduce risk of car accident in West Palm Beach, elsewhere

Slow drivers who drive in the left lane are a common cause of road rage on Florida roadways for other temperamental drivers who are in a hurry and don’t have any patience. Aggressive driving behaviors often lead to car accidents in Margate or West Palm Beach.

Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers have been reporting about the dangers of road rage this time of year in Florida on our South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog.

Senator Mike Bennett is taking another crack at proposing the “left-lane” bill to penalize slow left-lane drivers according to The News-Press.

A similar bill passed the Legislature back in 2005 but was vetoed by Governor Jeb Bush at the time because he felt the bill supported driving at high rates of speed at the expense of cautious drivers. AAA Auto Club shares a similar view that the bill will attract more speeders by penalizing drivers who adhere to the speed limit and choose to drive in the left lane while doing so.

Senator Bennett’s school of thought is that incidents of road rage will minimize if slower drivers are forced to stay out of the left lane. Refusing to pass cars in the right lane or clogging up roadways with a slower pace often leads to incidents of tailgating, cutting motorists off, and distractions like honking or hand gestures made to get drivers to move out of the way. Tempers flare which often escalate to fits of road rage. Penalizing drivers in the left lane is one way to avoid this chain reaction.

The bill proposes that drivers who are passing, slowing to make a left-hand turn, or blocked from getting in the right lane due to heavy traffic will not be penalized for driving in the left lane. The bill is not proposing that aggressive drivers who tailgate or change lanes swiftly to maneuver around left lane motorists be free and clear from penalty as they too will be fined for aggressive or careless driving.

If passed, the bill proposes a $100 fine for first-time offenders. Repeat offenders would be issued a $500 penalty for violation of the left-lane law.

Public opinion is mixed about the proposed left-lane bill. Supporters feel the bill would reduce road rage incidents and force drivers to use common sense on roadways. Those who are opposed feel safe drivers are being punished in order to excuse impatient drivers who speed and are likely to cause accidents on Florida roadways. One thing is certain, if all drivers used common sense, road rage would rarely play a role in motor vehicle crashes.

If you have been involved in an aggressive driving accident in South Florida, or are a victim of a road rage accident in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach or Miami, contact Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez for legal assistance. Call 1-800-529-2368 to make a free appointment to discuss your rights.

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