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June 20, 2005 - HOV Lanes Not Working in Florida

If there were a magical cure for traffic it would be worth trillions. The dilemma is that we all hate sitting in traffic but we aren't going to give up our cars - and why should we. So far the only solution offered to relieve traffic is the HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lane. Historically it was called the car pool lane.

HOV Lanes Goes Unused

Taking your dog for a car ride can present three primary dangers - distraction, securing your pet and outside influences. Distraction is the primary cause of car accidents so it's important to transport your pet in a way that does not distract you. Your dog should not be in your lap or wondering around your car. You should decide if you are going to allow your dog to move around your car or be secure. If your dog rides in your car calmly and is not a distraction you may still want to consider a dog safety belt.

The idea of the HOV lane is to reward people with their own lane for loading up 2 or more people in a car. But most of us are going to different places so sharing a car is not practical. Car pooling and public transportation works in big centralized cities where many people are going to the same place. But in Florida we are all spread out. You can't car pool with someone that works several miles away from you. So the traffic grows the HOV lanes are pretty empty and drivers are getting more frustrated.

There have been plans in the works to extend the hours of the HOV lane starting an hour earlier and ending an hour later. But drivers in South Florida protested strongly and the plans have been put on hold. In Florida and other states there have been proposals to create an HOT (high occupancy toll) lane. The HOT lane would allow drivers to pay a fee for the right to drive in this special lane. It's like the express pass at the Orlando theme parks where you pay extra and don't have to stand in line. This proposal was also loudly objected to by Florida drivers. So what is the solution to the growing traffic problem?

The Slow Poke Lane

There are two major causes for traffic - slow drivers and accidents. To fix these two problems we would take the opposite approach - create a slow poke lane and impose heavy fines for drivers that cause accidents. If everyone just drove the speed limit traffic would move. Why not create a SPL (slow poke lane)? Drivers who can't drive the speed limit for some reason would be required to move over to the special lane and get ticketed if they don't move over and are caught holding up traffic.

Drivers that cause accidents would be fined heavily so much so that it would create an actual deterrent for bad driving. Since drivers don't seem to get that tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic and other bad driving habits cause accidents, make them pay a heavy fine. A $2000 fine for causing an accident would go far to force bad drivers to behave.

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