A new law recently went into effect in Florida, and another one is being considered, which will hopefully prevent car accidents in the future. In general, these new traffic laws focus on highway drivers who remain in the passing lane, forcing other drivers to pass them on the right, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
Florida's new 'Move Over' traffic law
On January 1, 2024, Florida's so-called "Move Over" law went into effect. House Bill (HB) 425 concerns drivers who do not move over when they encounter emergency vehicles or disabled vehicles on the side of the road.
Previously, drivers in Florida who encountered emergency vehicles (ambulances, police cars, etc.) on the side of the road were required to move over or slow down to 20 mph if they could not safely move over. Drivers were not required to move over for any disabled vehicle.
Under HB 425, Florida drivers must move over if they encounter any disabled vehicle alongside the road. This includes all emergency vehicles and any vehicle with its hazard lights on that's parked alongside the road.
Florida's proposed 'Left Lane' traffic law
Along with HB 425, Florida politicians are considering adopting HB 317, referred to as the "Left Lane" law. Florida officials will discuss and possibly vote on HB 317 this year. If the new law is approved and passed, motorists who linger in the left passing lane on the highway could face fines and other penalties.
"All of us who travel back and forth to Tallahassee experience frustration on the major highways and frustration caused by drivers impeding the flow of traffic in the left lane," Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka, R-Fort Myers, said in an interview with the Tallahassee Democrat.
"This creates a dangerous situation, when drivers unnecessarily camp out in the left lane," Persons-Mulicka added. "It leads to blocking traffic flow, less predictability, more encounters, more passing maneuvers and more opportunities for accidents."
Why did Florida adopt these new traffic laws?
One of the reasons why Florida officials passed HB 425 and are considering HB 317 has to do with car accidents involving disabled vehicles parked alongside the road. According to statewide accident data collected by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) and cited by the Tallahassee Democrat, drivers who failed to move over caused 1,696 car accidents between Jan. 4, 2015, and Nov. 23, 2023. These accidents resulted in 8 fatalities and 128 injuries.
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