Florida Lawmakers Seek to Increase Highway Speed

Speed limits on Florida highways are already some of the fastest this side of the Mississippi. speedometer

But traffic doesn’t move quickly enough for some Florida legislators, who are trying to green light a bill that would raise the speed limit from 70-miles-per-hour to 75-miles-per-hour in some portions of the state. The measures could also result in increasing speed on rural four-lane stretches of road from 65-miles-per-hour up to 70-miles-per-hour.

Our West Palm Beach car accident attorneys learned that some lawmakers may have more of an incentive to change the current limits than others. The Scripps Florida Investigative Team recently analyzed the driving records of every current state legislator.

This is what they discovered:

  • Of 160 legislators, 35 of them (or 22 percent) have more than 10 violations on their record.
  • Eleven of them (or 7 percent) have more than 20 violations.
  • Two of them have more than 40, with Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, having received 43 Florida traffic tickets tickets since 1979.

Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, conceded to having a “bit of a lead foot” when confronted with evidence of the 18 tickets she’s received since 1979. In particular, between 2006 and 2010, she received three separate tickets for driving at speeds of between 89- and 95-miles-per-hour. She was quoted as saying that she liked speed and fast cars – but that she also values safety.

According to the national Safety Council, speed is believed to be a factor in one out of every three deadly crashes. It is the third-leading cause of all traffic crashes, which result in hundreds of thousands of injuries and thousands of deaths in the U.S. each year. Speeding alone, the NSC reports, results in 13,000 deaths in the U.S. annually.

While lawmakers crack down on drunk drivers and efforts to increase penalties for hit-and-run drivers has received enormous support, measures to cut speed limits have been all but non-existent. Indeed, lawmakers are moving in the opposite direction.

It’s hard to imagine their own driving behaviors don’t play a role.

Take Rouson, for example. Since 2001, he’s received 11 tickets for speeding. Just last spring, he was cited for traveling 91-miles-per-hour in a 70-mile-per-hour zone while traveling in Madison County. A judge eventually reduced that violation to traveling 79-miles-per-hour in a 70-mile-per-hour zone, which allowed the lawmaker to avoid the four-point penalty on his license. That same year, however, he did get four points on his license when he was deemed at-fault for a crash that resulted in injuries to another driver. At the time, the lawmaker was allegedly attempting to work his vehicle’s global satellite positioning system. Also in 2013, Rouson was ticketed for failure to stop at a red light. He didn’t pay his fine on time, so his license was temporarily suspended, though he got it back in March. The amount he has paid in traffic fines since 2001 reportedly totals in the thousands.

He may be one of the worst, but he’s certainly not the only violator. Rep. Douglas Holder has been ticketed for traveling more than 100-miles-per-hour in a 70-mile-per-hour zone. Rep. Matthew Gaetz has been issued more than 15 tickets just since 1999, one of those for going 60-miles-per-hour in a 35-mile-per-hour zone.

Consider too, these are just the legislators who have been caught. You can read the full list here.

If you have been injured in a West Palm Beach car accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at 888-751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.