Damaged cones on the new Veterans Express Lane could be a sign of lane diving

Posted at 6:56 PM, Jan 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-05 18:56:50-05

When ABC Action News went down to Miami last year to expose the  "expressway"  problem called "lane diving," drivers warned us that the same bad behavior would be coming to Tampa if FDOT installed the plastic cones dividers.

And while no one has been caught lane diving on the veteran's yet, our cameras captured video that make it clear something is hitting the cones.

ABC Action News cameras shot video of broken cones, missing cones, and "scuffed up" cones.

It is picture proof that the plastic lane dividers on the new veterans express lane are already taking a beating less than a month after the fast lane opened.

Down in Miami, they call it "lane diving."

ABC Action News went there last year to expose the fast lane fears.

"I spun out , hit the wall at full speed," recalls  Stephanie Blossom, who spent weeks in the hospital after a lane diver side swiped her on I-95.

She was eight months pregnant.

"I’m lying on the side of the road scared whether my baby is going to live or die," she said.

Her baby lived. But she and Cynthia  Fleischmann, who lost her leg after a lane diver ran into her, both sued FDOT, alleging the state created a "dangerous hazard" with the plastic lane dividers; the same dividers that are on the veterans now.

FDOT admits that lane diving is a problem statewide. In fact there is a radio ad playing right now in the Tampa market warning drivers not to hit the cones.

But most drivers we spoke to today seemed more concerned that the fast lane just isn't worth it.

"I don’t think they are worth it when you think about the traffic coming in," said one driver.

Right now the express lane on the veterans doesn't cost you any extra, but that will soon change. This year "FDOT" will start charging you extra to use it.

But  the real cost could be driver safety.