Friday, July 05, 2013

Florida: The Rules Are Different Here

If you're one of those people who love sharing bizarre stories with your friends up north about this place we sometimes fondly refer to as "Flor-i-DUH," have I got good news for you.

Craig Pittman, who reports on the environment for the Tampa Bay Times, is currently writing a month-long series of blog posts for

Pittman was asked to write the posts after someone at Slate noticed his daily Twitter posts on Florida weirdness that are always tagged "Oh #Florida!"

Pittman kicked off the series last Monday with a post titled, "True facts about the weirdest, wildest, most fascinating state."

In today's post, Pittman discusses his favorite roadside signs and shares some fun facts about Florida's elderly drivers.

Florida's requirement that we drive anywhere we want to go is also why we have so many elderly drivers on the roads doing 25 in a 45 mph zone with one blinker on, even though they can be a danger to every other motorist or jaywalking pedestrian. It also explains a phenomenon I have sometimes heard referred to as “Sudden Elderly Acceleration Syndrome.” (Incidents of SEAS got so bad last year the Postal Service put out a PSA asking Floridians to please stop ramming into their post offices.)

How old are the drivers we are talking about? As of last year, Florida had 455 licensed drivers who were 100 or older. Between the ages of 91 and 100, there are 65,000. Maybe perhaps possibly it couuuuuld be that some of these folks shouldn't be driving anymore—but if you take away their car keys, they will be stranded as surely as if they'd been dropped on an Alaskan ice floe.

Today, I asked Pittman this: If someone reads each and every one of your posts for the next month, will  they pretty much know everything there is to know about Florida?

His response: "Well, they won't know everything because I don't know everything. But, hopefully by the time I'm finished, they'll not only have a better understanding of what a colossal freak show Florida is, but also realize that it's a fun place to live."

Amen, brother Craig, Amen!

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