LEE COUNTY, Fla.-- We all know that speeding is illegal, but get caught driving too slowly and you could still get a ticket. Going too slowly, or impeding traffic, is against the law. A WINK News Call for Action investigation catches drivers across Southwest Florida holding up traffic. Now, we find out what's being done to put the brakes on slow driving.
Getting stuck behind the slowest person on the road can be frustrating. WINK News this Morning anchor, Rob Spicker, put a camera in his car for a week and caught driver after driver going well below the speed limit. About once a day, Rob got behind somebody who was impeding the flow of traffic. The worst was on Daniels Parkway in South Fort Myers. The posted speed limit is 50 mph but Rob found himself behind a car going only 30 mph. On State Road 82 the speed limited is 55 mph but Rob caught a driver ambling along at just 37 mph.
"It's a bad habit a lot of drivers have out there on the roadway," Lt. Chris Miller with the Florida Highway Patrol tells WINK News.
He also points out that it's not just a bad habit; it's illegal. Impeding the flow of traffic can get you a ticket and going well below the speed limit can also be dangerous in certain conditions.
"It does create hazards on the road," says Lt. Miller. "Other drivers trying to around them, they're weaving in and out of traffic. One of the serious issues with that is the road rage that accompanies it."
The general rule of the road is simple: stay right except to pass. It's often taught in driving school but quickly forgotten. The Florida Highway Patrol says it's not in the business of pulling over drivers going too slowly but will if it has to.
According to records kept by the Florida Highway Patrol, WINK News found that in 2009 forty-six drivers in Lee County got tickets for impeding traffic. Sixteen of them were written by the Sheriff's Office, eight of them by Cape Coral police officers and none were issued by Fort Myers police.
In Collier County 22 tickets were written for going too slowly. Eleven were handed out by the Naples Police Department and nine by the Sheriff's Office.
Charlotte County issued only two tickets in 2009. One of them was from the Sheriff's Office.
"It's frustrating," driver Doug Smith tells WINK. "Thirty in a 50, it's frustrating. Trucks should be in the right lane. It's unsafe because people are trying to wiggle around them and then you're getting accidents."
Twicestate legislators tried to toughen the law and language requiring slow drivers to move out of the way. Both chambers passed a bill that Governor Jeb Bush vetoed in 2005. This year a similar version only got through the Senate. But some people say a law to make slow drivers move to the right is badly needed.
State Senator Mike Bennett who represents parts of Lee and Charlotte counties introduced the most recent legislation about slow drivers moving to the right. His office tells WINK the senator will most likely reintroduce the bill again, next year.