Georgia wants 'slow poke' drivers to stay in right lane
ATLANTA – Interstate dawdlers, beware.
The Georgia Legislature approved a measure on Tuesday that would allow police to ticket those driving too slowly in the left lanes on the state's highways and interstates.
The “slow poke” bill would require any driver on a divided highway to move to the right – even if they're driving at the speed limit — when a vehicle going faster comes up from behind, or face a misdemeanor charge.
The Georgia Senate approved the measure on a 42-5 vote; the House of Representatives approved it 162-9 in February. It needs Republican Gov. Nathan Deal's signature to become law.
John Bowman, a spokesman for the National Motorists Association, approves of the measure. “I think most states do have some law on their books that attempts to limit slower drivers from using the left lane,” he says. “It really does make sense. And it's an issue we've been pushing for a long time.”
Lollygagging drivers could face misdemeanor penalties of no more than $1,000 in fines and up to a year in prison. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Bill Hitchens, R-Rincon, who was a state trooper for 33 years and is the former head of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, says he expects much lower penalties.
He says the measure would be tough to enforce. He says he pushed it more for education purposes, over concerns that irate drivers stuck behind dawdlers might spur road rage incidents or cause crashes while trying to pass.
“I don't think a lot of people understand that on multi-lane highways with traffic going in the same direction, that slower traffic is supposed to keep right,” Hitchens says.
Once upon a time, slower drivers tended to drive in the right lanes.
“We call it lane courtesy,” Bowman says. “We trace (its demise) back to the implementation of the 55-mph maximum national speed limit. All of a sudden, it became more acceptable to drive at a slower pace. And people thought it was their duty to police others by forcing everyone to slow down. And I think it continues even today.”
The New Jersey Legislature approved a similar measure last year that doubled to $100 the minimum fine for those who linger in the left lanes. The South Carolina Legislature is considering a similar bill.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Artificial sweeteners possible contributors to diabetes, obesity
- Study ties middle-age migraines, Parkinson’s
- Snowden: U.S. shared info about Americans
- House panel OKs move to split Amtrak, focus on profitable Northeast Corridor
- Holder urges bigger reward for whistle-blowers
- VA report sugarcoats actions, doctor says
- HealthCare.gov website’s security flaws put users’ personal info at risk
- Door left ajar to boots on ground to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria
- White House committed to ethanol, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack says
- Entire Calif. town lost to wildfire as dozen other blazes rage
- Search for missing U. of Va. student shifted