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Georgia legislation targets 'slowpoke' drivers in left lane

Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 12:16 PM
Last updated Wednesday, July 30, 2014 2:40 AM
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ATLANTA — Drivers who refuse to pull out of the left lane for a faster car – even one that is speeding – could be charged with a misdemeanor under legislation the House overwhelmingly passed Wednesday.

Penalties for Georgia motorists who fail to move out of the left lane to let faster drivers pass could face a fine and time in prison. The Senate will consider the Republican-sponsored House legislation.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Penalties for Georgia motorists who fail to move out of the left lane to let faster drivers pass could face a fine and time in prison. The Senate will consider the Republican-sponsored House legislation.

House Bill 459, which passed 162-9, was sponsored by Rep. Bill Hitchens, a Rincon Republican who is the former head of the Geor­gia State Patrol.

“This is the good manners your mother should have taught you,” he said, comparing it to golfers letting faster groups play through.

Penalties could be as much as a $1,000 fine and 12 months in prison, but Hitchens acknowledged it would be hard to enforce.

“My reason for doing it is for education purposes,” he said, noting angry drivers could react with road rage or spur accidents in an effort to get around slower motorists.

Richmond County sheriff’s Lt. Ramone Lamkin said he sees the bill being more beneficial to state troopers who work the interstate, where this issue is most common, than to his deputies. On the interstate, slow drivers sometimes cause traffic to back up for miles.

“It definitely will be beneficial in those instances to just stop that first vehicle and have it move to the right lane,” said Lamkin, who worked with the Georgia State Patrol for 10 years before coming to the sheriff’s office.

Many Richmond County roads, such as Peach Orchard and Deans Bridge, have three lanes and there isn’t usually a lane clogging issue, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, Lamkin said. Local instances of road rage from slow, left-lane drivers have shown up on YouTube, he said.

Some drivers insist they should not have to move out of the left lane if they are going the speed limit, but Lamkin said that’s not necessarily true.

“You still need to be courteous to other drivers. That’s the main point we need to emphasize to all drivers here in Georgia and especially Richmond County,” he said.

“You need to make every effort to let that vehicle pass. You never know what’s going on. It could be an emergency.”

Police have run into problems of their own when responding to emergencies and getting behind a “slow poke” driver.

“We’re taught to take that left lane,” Lamkin said. “If you’re holding up traffic and have that left lane blocked with traffic backed up, that can create a risk to law enforcement and emergency personnel.”

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

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daphne3520
950
Points
daphne3520 02/26/14 - 12:28 pm
0
0
itsanotherday1
46945
Points
itsanotherday1 02/26/14 - 12:33 pm
20
5
Senate, please pass it!

Senate, please pass it!

Farmboy
1003
Points
Farmboy 02/26/14 - 12:41 pm
15
4
Butterman
3696
Points
Butterman 02/26/14 - 12:42 pm
16
23
Suggestion
Unpublished

So I guess the speed limit is just a suggestion then and will no longer be enforced?

Boston93
117
Points
Boston93 02/26/14 - 01:01 pm
16
18
Slow drivers.

“This is the good manners your mother should have taught you?"

What manners did the speeders mothers teach them ? Say ! Huh ? Go as fast as you can so you can kill man ?

corgimom
36720
Points
corgimom 02/26/14 - 01:05 pm
17
20
You can be driving the speed

You can be driving the speed limit, but if you don't get over for a speeder, you could get a ticket?

FOR REAL???

What hare-brained idea is THIS?

pja5529
2666
Points
pja5529 02/26/14 - 01:10 pm
16
2
I have encountered

I have encountered several people going UNDER the speed limit in the left lane. Besides the left lane is used for passing and faster travel. If you are going to drive slow...why not stay in the left lane? You are breaking the traffic laws just like those who speed.

paperguy
85
Points
paperguy 02/26/14 - 01:45 pm
19
2
YES!!!

Some left lane drivers do it out of ignorance, some feel entitled to drive where ever, and some try to police the speeders by hindering their progress. All need to stay right except to pass.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
10203
Points
ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 02/26/14 - 01:50 pm
13
3
Pass It

I have experienced numerous time people who will match the speed of the vehicle in the right lane and laugh about whizzing off the people behind them. This not only hinders the smooth flow of traffic but slows response time for Emergency Services. If you want to slow people down in the left lane, I hope it's not any of your family they are responding to.. If you're there just to make people mad, I hope you have to pay $1000.00. Some of the worst culprits are the log trucks on Bobby Jones who try to pass each other on the long hill between Gordon Hwy and US1. It's a 3 mile drag race bottling up everyone behind them......

john
1182
Points
john 02/26/14 - 02:11 pm
18
1
love

Let the police enforce the speed limit. Keep right except to pass. Thank you.

burninater
9799
Points
burninater 02/26/14 - 02:23 pm
12
7
"Suggestion"

"So I guess the speed limit is just a suggestion then and will no longer be enforced?"
------
So I guess you aren't the police, and have no business playing highway patrol with your passive-aggressive left lane driving?

The left lane is for passing ONLY. Many states already ticket you for this -- Georgia is just playing catch up.

Just My Opinion
6073
Points
Just My Opinion 02/26/14 - 02:25 pm
5
4
Just to play the opposite

Just to play the opposite side of this, wouldn't the most obvious defense for this be, if questioned by the poliice, that you were about to make a left turn and you HAD to stay in that lane at a slower speed?
Even though I'd also benefit from this rule, I don't know how well it'd work. By and large, I think speeders are more a selfish bunch, so would we really be prone to pass in the left lane and then return to the right lane to let someone else pass us?? Afterall, this isn't Germany and the Autobahn we're talking about.

OJP
7493
Points
OJP 02/26/14 - 02:40 pm
14
2
Wow this would be great!

It's dangerous and inefficient to hold up traffic. It is not a random driver's job to police speed limits. If you are going the speed limit in the left lane and someone comes up behind you, GET OVER and call the cops if you feel that is necessary.

Just sitting there is a textbook example of passive-aggressive behavior, it's irresponsible driving, and I'm glad to see it may soon get such drivers a well-deserved ticket.

Dark Lord
2
Points
Dark Lord 02/26/14 - 02:55 pm
0
0
Law Suit Waiting To Happen

Maybe it's just my 11 years as a Police Office but the last time I checked the speed limit is the same in both lanes. The law SUGGEST that the left lane is used for passing at a safe speed but not for driving with reckless or less safe driving. Yeah it sucks sometimes but I promise it will cost more to go to court and defend writing a ticket for driving the speed limit then it will to find another educational approach to this issue. Compare the number of deaths caused by people driving slow in the left lane verses number of deaths caused by speeders in any lane. Bottom line is Speed Kills and always will.

enoch1946
12
Points
enoch1946 02/26/14 - 02:59 pm
8
15
It's pretty arrogant to drive

It's pretty arrogant to drive up on someone's bumper and expect to get out of your way. Apparently this representative prefers road rage over those that follow the law.

grinder48
2039
Points
grinder48 02/26/14 - 03:22 pm
0
0
It's Not a Speeding Matter
Unpublished

It's "Keep right except to pass". It was even a question on the exam I took to get a driver's license. Doesn't say you can speed any more than it says you can drive drunk. It's simply "Keep right except to pass". How complicated is that?!?!?!

raul
5529
Points
raul 02/26/14 - 03:12 pm
11
2
Anyone that has driven on the

Anyone that has driven on the autobahn knows the left lane is for passing only. And do expect someone to ride your bumper if you stay in the left lane. The left lane is for passing only.

burninater
9799
Points
burninater 02/26/14 - 03:18 pm
11
2
But enoch, the EXISTING law

But enoch, the EXISTING law is that the left lane is for passing or left turns only. If you are in the left lane for any other reason, you are already breaking the law. Comments today indicate many motorists are ignorant of this basic law of the road in Georgia.

This new bill simply creates stricter penalties for breaking existing law.

Existing law is linked here:

http://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2010/title-40/chapter-6/article-3/40...
http://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2010/title-40/chapter-6/article-9/40...

dichotomy
36276
Points
dichotomy 02/26/14 - 03:30 pm
15
1
Keep Right Except To Pass

It's always been the rule of the road....written in some states and understood as common sense in all states. Please pass this law. It is not the left lane laggers job to enforce the speed limits and when they try they cause more danger than any speeder by forcing people to swap lanes and pass on the right to get around them. Please pass and ENFORCE this law.

csrareader
1287
Points
csrareader 02/26/14 - 03:37 pm
7
13
Idiotic proposal. You should

Idiotic proposal. You should NEVER be penalized for driving the speed limit, unless you're blocking emergency vehicles. There is no right to speed for most of us, and it's simply IDIOTIC to imply that someone will be penalized because Driver A wants to force Driver B into the right lane so he/she can drive 75 in a 55 zone.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 02/26/14 - 03:48 pm
0
0
Everyone
Unpublished

would be lucky if this bill passes, in my opinion. If it was legal, I'd drive a tank and make certain the left lane would, at least temporarily, be full of crushed cars and trucks that failed to yield.

burninater
9799
Points
burninater 02/26/14 - 03:56 pm
12
6
Ignorance is no excuse for lawbreaking

csrareader, YOU are a lawbreaker if you are in the left lane for any reason besides passing or turning. Even without these new penalties. Get it?

Folks are focusing on speeders as if there is nothing wrong with driving on the left. But there is. You are ALREADY, NOW, TODAY a lawbreaker if you drive on the left for any reason besides passing or turning. You are as much a lawbreaker as the speeder! Ignorance is not an excuse.

IBeDogGone
3015
Points
IBeDogGone 02/26/14 - 07:32 pm
11
5
Most Dangerous Drivers

The most dangerous drivers on the road are slow drivers. Most drivers even when speeding are more in control of their vehicle than someone slow poking for whatever reason.

csrareader
1287
Points
csrareader 02/26/14 - 04:10 pm
7
9
burninator, if I'm in the

burninator, if I'm in the left lane, I AM passing other motorists. I may not be passing them as quickly as those going 80 MPH in a 55 zone, but I am passing them. I am not ALREADY, NOW, TODAY a lawbreaker if I'm driving 55-60 in the left lane passing motorists who drive 50 in the right lane. I agree -- ignorance is not an excuse, but it's common among the folks who want to run you off the road every day.

burninater
9799
Points
burninater 02/26/14 - 04:20 pm
11
4
csrareader, if you are in the

csrareader, if you are in the left lane to pass, then you are not violating this law. You can't yield to a faster car behind you if you are actively passing a vehicle.

If you have room to move to the right lane after passing a vehicle but remain in the left lane regardless, THEN you are in violation of existing law.

csrareader
1287
Points
csrareader 02/26/14 - 04:19 pm
8
12
Yet, there are those who run

Yet, there are those who run up on your hind end every day because they want to pass vehicles on Bobby Jones at a faster rate than you. Thr former head of the Georgia State Patrol is catering to these dangerous drivers. Pure idiocy.

burninater
9799
Points
burninater 02/26/14 - 04:22 pm
9
5
Csrareader, tailgating is an

Csrareader, tailgating is an entirely separate issue. This law in no way caters to them. It neither legitimizes tailgating, nor makes any changes to existing tailgating law. You are confusing two separate issues.

lh
29
Points
lh 02/26/14 - 04:24 pm
13
1
I guess the signs that are

I guess the signs that are already on the roadway don't mean anything.
Keep right except to pass. Slower traffic keep right. Am I the only that has seen these signs.

ralphinga
1645
Points
ralphinga 02/26/14 - 04:35 pm
9
1
Rants & Raves

Can't wait to see the rants about this one. Ever notice the comments from folks who drive in the left lane and don't understand why there are cars behind them? And worse, they haven't got a clue that if they move to the right lane, those cars would pass them.

corgimom
36720
Points
corgimom 02/26/14 - 04:44 pm
9
14
The left lane isn't just for

The left lane isn't just for passing, that was the original design, but is no longer applicable. There are just too many cars on the road for the luxury of a passing lane.

If somebody is going the speed limit, how can they possibly be given a ticket- because somebody else is in a hurry and doesn't want to obey the law?

You see this especially in bad weather, when somebody wants to drive like a bat out of Hell, in dangerous driving conditions. And according to this hare-brained idea, the person in the left lane would be wrong? What happens if they can't move to the right lane?

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