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Florida Wrongful Death Claims, From the Left Lane Articles, Personal Injury



Welcome to South Florida. We are just “minutes” from the beach – IF you can get there safely on our highways!

Good Old I-95 – our DREAM HIGHWAY!

Heading out on it is riskier than any airline flight you will ever take, riskier than a hot air balloon ride, riskier than parachuting from an airplane! It is a literal death highway. Our Florida Highway Patrol keeps a ready supply of body bags in the trunks of all patrol cars – no day goes by without a fatal or serious injury crash on that road.

Amazingly, our traffic engineers keep expanding the highway, two lanes at a time and four to six years behind the needs of traffic. Why is it that we need such large roads? Is there not a way to educate our drivers to better utilize our existing roads to handle the traffic flow and not turn the highway into a carnival “bumper car” ride?

The simple answer is “YES – IT CAN BE DONE”. Other states are coming up with solutions and traffic engineers know the simple answers.

These articles “From the Left Lane” will be a series examining the ways in which we can make our roads safer and still permit traffic to flow at better rate.

Historically, traffic laws are a politic matter. One would ask – “why should that be?” What do our state legislators know about driving that makes them experts at flow and safety – and the answer is – very little at all. Typically a new traffic law is proposed as a statutory addition or rule amendment and it is assigned to a legislative committee for “study” and “research.” A budget is granted for the study. The “experts” are called in to report to the Committee. A report may be commissioned. Ultimately the decision is in the hands of the politicians. Typically there is an element of funding. The Highway Patrol may report that it cannot enforce the proposed law as it does not have enough officers. The courts complain that they do not have the resources to handle the traffic citations. At the end of the day, many worthy laws are defeated for no other reason than politics.

In 2004 and 2005 a new Florida traffic law was proposed which would require “left lane huggers” to MOVE OVER and allow faster traffic to move through.

Governor Bush vetoed 2005 SB732, which would have reserved the left lane for passing, saying that drivers blocking the left lane are “cautious and careful.”

Six states require drivers to move right if they are blocking traffic in the left lane. Most states follow the Uniform Vehicle Code and require drivers to keep right if they are going slower than the normal speed of traffic (regardless of the speed limit).

In Virginia Statute Section 46.2-842.1 requires vehicles in the left lane to yield to faster traffic. State Police say this applies even when faster traffic is speeding

Colorado rev. stat. 42-4-1103, prohibits blocking the “normal and reasonable” movement of traffic.

(1) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle in the passing lane of a highway if the speed limit is sixty-five miles per hour or more unless such person is passing other motor vehicles that are in a nonpassing lane or turning left, or unless the volume of traffic does not permit the motor vehicle to safely merge into a nonpassing lane.

(2) For the purposes of this section:

(a) “Nonpassing lane” means any lane that is to the right of the passing lane if there are two or more adjacent lanes of traffic moving in the same direction in one roadway.

(b) “Passing lane” means the farthest to the left lane if there are two or more adjacent lanes of traffic moving in the same direction in one roadway; except that, if such left lane is restricted to high occupancy vehicle use or is designed for left turns only, the passing lane shall be the lane immediately to the right of such high occupancy lane or left-turn lane.

(3) A person who violates this section commits a class A traffic infraction.

In nutshell, the reason that it is SO DANGEROUS when people do not move over for passing traffic is that faster traffic WILL “Bunch Up” behind the slower traffic. As this happens, spacing between the bunched cars is greatly reduced. The traffic standard is one car length per ten miles per hour. Therefore, at 70, seven car lengths of following distance is safe. The bunched cars are usually at no more than two car lengths and there are multiple cars in this situation. If someone slows down, the accordion effect causes the cars to get closer. Eventually a car will “break out” and make a run around to the right, crossing several lanes of slower traffic and increasing their speed by at least 20 mph to “get around.” Each one of these events GREATLY increases the risk to every driver on the road. When someone makes a mistake and traffic is in this situation, it is inevitable that there will be a major serious accident. ALL of this is avoidable. We need stiff penalties and harsh enforcement of a law making it an infraction to HOG the left lane. Better to let the speeders through the pack than have them sit on you bumper getting “pissed off” and then doing something stupid.

In Europe, the harshest traffic fine you can receive is not for speeding but for failing to yield to faster traffic! Are the Germans, Italians, Spanish, etc. smarter than us! YOU BET!

If you find yourself involved in such an accident and have sustained an injury, it is best to consult an attorney with substantial experience. There are so many different circumstances that a proper answer to your particular problem can only be obtained by a trained and experienced lawyer.

If you have any question regarding this or any other legal matter our firm may be able to help you. Please contact Jupiter Legal Advocates at (561) 748-8000 or email us at for further information and assistance. We try our very best to respond immediately.

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