‘Stupid Motorist Law’ could be coming to Central Florida. Here’s what it means

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — Arizona’s “Stupid Motorist Law” could be coming to Volusia County.


It would force people to pay fines if they get stranded while driving through floodwaters during a storm.

Officials said the ordinance could cut down on unnecessary rescues. However, neighbors of one flood-prone area said when water started filling their homes during last fall’s hurricanes, driving away was their only option.

Cars stalled under several feet of floodwater was a common sight across Volusia County during Ian and Nicole. Rescue crews responded to hundreds of drivers in need of help.

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Now, Volusia County may bill people if they drive past barricades and onto flooded roads.

At the next council meeting, time is carved out to discuss the law, which allows governments to charge drivers up to $2,000 for emergency response.

Niceie Bullock is not on board with the proposed change. She didn’t think her Daytona Beach home would flood last fall. And when it did, she didn’t have a lot of time to react.

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“That is absurd,” she said. “Be fined for what? Because I am stuck? I need help? That is really crazy. They need to stop that.”

If passed in Volusia County, the ordinance wouldn’t financially impact city police departments, but New Smyrna Beach interim Chief Eric Feldman said it would still be beneficial by sending a message.

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“I spent a lot of time in Arizona in my career, and I am very aware of the Stupid Motorist Law and why they enacted that,” Feldman said. “I could see why that would be effective in a case here in Florida.”

Feldman said the goal isn’t to punish people, it’s to protect them from getting stranded in the first place.

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.