Reader John sends along this dispatch, another entry in America’s most impassioned, and irrelevant, debate about traffic safety: People driving too slowly in the left lane. Apparently the Georgia legislature has some time on its hands (time saved from speeding along in the left lane),
ATLANTA — It’s a pet peeve for many drivers — getting behind a “slow poke” who won’t get out of the fast lane.
Note: Since it’s laws we’re talking here, in no state highway code is there inscribed such a thing as the “fast lane.”
“I think someone who’s driving 40 miles an hour on a highway that everyone else is doing 65 to 75 on is just as much of a hazard as someone who’s doing 110 in a 70,” said Atlanta driver Vajra Stratigos.
A one-person sample size! Why wade through the traffic safety research — which isn’t exactly filled with case studies of untold numbers of people dying horrific deaths by driving too slowly — when you can just quote a random driver?
State Rep. Mark Butler of Carrollton is sponsoring a bill that puts some teeth in Georgia’s current law. Butler’s bill calls for a minimum fine of $75 for anyone caught impeding traffic by driving below the speed limit in the passing lane of a multi-lane roadway.
Below the speed limit in the left lane? How many times does this actually happen in Georgia? Has this person actually driven in Atlanta? People drive 40 MPH in the school zones! Remember the huge controversy created when a platoon of vehicles tried to actually drive the speed limit in every lane? A vehicular riot almost ensued.
“The far left-hand lane, with the exception of the HOV lane, is supposed to be used for passing,” said Butler.
As a commenter to this blog noted recently, this is not as clear cut as it seems. A driver going 70 in the left lane, passing every driver he sees, is still going to be seen as a ‘left-lane slowpoke’ by the driver going 75.
Butler said he’s not trying to encourage speeding. “It’s about road courtesy and lane discipline, and that’s what we’re hoping to promote with this bill,” he said.
Atlanta driver Michael Johnson doesn’t think the bill is fair. “It’s just another something else to get more money,” he said.
Driver Joel Linderman said it would probably make slow drivers think twice about jumping in the fast lane. “I think after a couple of your friends get fined for that, I think the word will get out,” he said.
The same way people think twice about driving faster than the legally posted speed, for sure!
The bill passed easily in a House subcommittee meeting on Tuesday morning. It now heads to the full House Transportation Committee.
Where it will no doubt sail through on the merits! Who says lawmakers cannot reach consensus!