Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys are closely monitoring House Bill 177, filed last week by co-sponsors Rep. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) and Sen. Mike Bennett (R-Bradenton). The bill targets drivers who hang out in the passing lane and prevent come-from-behind encroaching traffic from moving ahead by refusing to move to the right, the Destin Log reports.
And yes we hear your cheers!
Dubbed the “lane courtesy” bill by state lawmakers, the goal of the bill is three-fold: to prevent incidents of road rage (we’ve all been there), to diminish the number of potentially traffic crippling congestion flashpoints, and to reduce risk of motorist involvement in a serious or fatal car accident in Fort Lauderdale and elsewhere in Florida.
HB 177 provides for two exceptions. Drivers may remain in the passing lane if they are not crimping the traffic flow; and when conditions prevent them from changing lanes. Currently 37 states have enacted laws that tap into some variation of the don’t-blow-the-flow proposal.
The bill also ups penalties for aggressive (careless) drivers who commit a hat-trick of citable offenses, such as speeding, tailgating and dodging in-and-out of traffic. Funds generated by these fines will be channeled into driver education and emergency medical services funds.
Just days after the bill was filed, two teens were killed and three more injured in a deadly fatal Debary car accident that has been linked to aggressive driving, WESH-2 Orlando reports.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety defines aggressive driving as, “…deliberate, likely to increase the risk of a collision and is motivated by impatience, annoyance, hostility, and/or an attempt to save time.” Examples include: speeding, tailgating, and running traffic signals or stop signs.
In 2009, the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported there were 386 fatal Florida car accidents linked to careless driving that left more than 49,500 injured. Failure to yield right-of-way caused another 205 fatal Florida crashes that injured 21,891. Combined, drivers cited for improper lane changes, turns and passing, excessive speed, tailgating and other careless acts were tied to an additional 401 fatal wrecks that injured 24,134. In short: aggressive driving behaviors were linked to nearly 1,000 fatal Florida car accidents that injured more than 73,000 motorists in 2009.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an aggressive driver is one who regularly tailgates, dodges in-and-out of traffic, speeds, and runs red lights. Additional signs include being frequently distracted and often frustrated behind the wheel. To avoid a bout of road rage, drivers should be sure to give themselves plenty of time to reach their destinations, drive the posted speed and try to relax.
If you encounter an aggressive driver, NHTSA recommends simply getting out of their way. Save the eye contact and angry gestures (and the urge to retaliate) for later. Don’t enflame their aggression, avoid it.
The Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC have been successfully and aggressively representing car accident victims and their families in Miami, Margate, Hollywood, West Palm Beach, and Ft. Pierce /Port St. Lucie for years. Email us or call us today to schedule a no-obligation appointment to discuss your case at 1-800-529-2368.