WTVY  | Dothan, AL  | Politics, News

Coasting Now Legal in Florida

The 20-11 legislative session was one of resounding “No’s”.

No droopy pants.

No sex with animals.

No abortions without an ultrasound.

And then, there's this... For the first time, you can shift into neutral and coast down a hill.

It used to carry a $60 fine, but now it's completely legal.

Barber J.C. Kimbrough can't wait to roll on in to work.

“Coming down this hill right here,” Kimbrough said. “I think it's a good idea, you don't pick up much speed and it'll carry on through to the other light, pretty much.”

In this day of unbelievably high gas prices, coasting can save you big money in the form of better fuel economy, but remember you've got to have a hill to do it. And here in Florida, we've got nothing but flat, making for a neutral proposition.

And potentially, a dangerous one.

Police officer Derek Friend will be the first to admit the old law was so hard to enforce, tickets were rarely written, but with coasting now legal, his concern is drivers who can find a hill may not know how to do it safely.

“You don't necessarily have immediate control of the vehicle,” Friend said. “If the vehicle's not in drive and you can't immediately control what the car is doing, then that's where the safety issue comes in.”

In the end, the biggest issue could be why coasting ever became a priority at the capitol. It may save a few pennies in gas, but J.C. just doesn't get it.

“For them to be talking about passing a law for coasting down hills, it just seems like they could be spending their time doing other things that could be more important.”

But fear not. After coasting through the rest of the year, they'll be back for another lap in 2012.

Some auto experts say the new law will only come in handy for owners of older cars. Most recent models have built-in computers that automatically regulate output as the car goes up and down hills.


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