Glynn MooreNews editor and local columnist for The Augusta Chronicle.

Honking doesn't work, so maybe legislation will

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You know what they say about the similarity of making laws and making sausage: They both involve pork, or something. I don’t know.

The point is, something done at the state Capitol last week sounded worthwhile. A freshman representative introduced a bill that would impose fines for, get this, blocking the passing lane on multilane roads.

Rep. Bill Hitchens introduced House Bill 459, which would, in the words of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “make it illegal to drive in the left lane except for overtaking and passing another vehicle.”


Never mind that it is already illegal to block the left lane. That’s been true for years in a lot of places.

(I can remember roadside signs from 40 years ago in Central America: Mantenga la derecha excepto al pasar. That meant not only, “Watch out for potholes that will, yes, destroy another ball joint on your Volkswagen Beetle and the road department will disavow all blame,” but also, and more to the point today: “Keep right except when passing.”)

We all know that letting faster vehicles pass us is the legal and commonsense thing to do. Driving in the fast lane at the same pace as right-lane traffic, or slower, is just plain stupid. The bill would fine stupidity.

Stupidity, of course, doesn’t keep people off the highways. We see that every day. Still, we don’t need to phone in a big donation to the Great American Stupidity Telethon every time we get on the road.

Impeding the flow of traffic is the surest way to spark road rage. We’ve all seen what happens when the actions of one driver cause a chain reaction of unsafe behavior from other motorists.

Hitchens, a former commissioner of the state De­part­ment of Public Safe­ty, probably has seen enough accidents to want to prevent a few.

Why do people block traffic flow in the passing lane? The aforementioned stupidity, for sure. Distrac­tion by talking on the phone, texting, eating or reading a novel – of course. Selfish­ness; that’s a given. Getting into the left lane to turn left five miles ahead, I know for a fact.

“But I’m driving the speed limit,” the traffic blocker might say as anger builds up behind him or her on the highway.

That’s beside the point. Not everyone travels at the same speed (unless Stupid is enforcing a self-imposed speed limit at the front of a long line of cars).

I realize that my speedometer might register fast, so I add a couple of mph to my speed on highways. I’ve driven like Danica Patrick only when I was racing to the hospital a couple of times, for instance.

The thing is, we don’t know what is going on in the car next to us. By keeping right, we don’t have to question the motives of cars passing us on the left.

You can find the bill’s restrictions on the Internet. Good reading, and safe driving – though not both at the same time, of course.

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Casting_Fool 03/04/13 - 06:36 am
"“But I’m driving the speed

"“But I’m driving the speed limit,” the traffic blocker might say as anger builds up behind him or her on the highway. That’s beside the point. Not everyone travels at the same speed (unless Stupid is enforcing a self-imposed speed limit at the front of a long line of cars)."

NO ONE one is supposed to be traveling faster than the speed limit. It's the law. Selfish, unthinking, dangerous drivers ignore the posted limit. The rest of us should not be at the mercy of drivers who think more about saving 5 minutes of travel time than the risk that they take by endangering everyone else.

Did the author of this article even glance at accident statistics? Did he read the responses to the other recent article on this topic?

No one has the right to drive faster than the speed limit. This new law is intended to keep drivers moving at less than the limit to the right. Not to give unthinking, uncaring drivers room to zoom.

How many more people have to die in auto accidents before people stop crying about their "right" to drive at excessive speeds?

This article's author called law-abiding citizens "Stupid", commenters on the other article called them "idiots". Well, who's a "stupid idiot" then; the one obeying the law, or the one flaunting it?

This new law doesn't give anyone the right to break the existing law. The posted speed limit is still the limit.

Stop the killing, drive to stay alive.

jrbfromga 03/04/13 - 07:06 am
But its not your job

to make sure I don't exceed the speed limit by sitting in the passing lane "doing the speed limit". Casting, you are just the type this bill is intended for.

john 03/04/13 - 11:26 am

blocking traffic is more dangerous that going 5 over the speed limit in the left lane. Get out of the way and let traffic flow. Let law enforcement enforce.

Bantana 03/05/13 - 10:27 am
Pipe down and move over

As was said, let the police do their job. It's not the place of "ordinary" citizens to try and force other road users to run at, or below the speed limit. Honestly, our speed limits on limited access Interstate highways are too low.

Casting_Fool 03/05/13 - 01:43 am
The law doesn't care if you

The law doesn't care if you think you can break the law because in your own opinion, you're a "safe" driver no matter what the law says.

Drivers traveling at the posted speed limit aren't forcing anyone to do anything, they're obeying the law. You say that it's okay for you to break the law and exceed the speed limit, yet, if some one breaks another law that happens to personally inconvenience you, I'm betting that you're gonna holler pretty loudly about it.

A man breaks into your home, robs you blind, and it's okay because he felt that it was okay to break the law, and besides, you weren't home and no one got hurt.

You're at the store and someone steals your car, and it's okay because the thief felt that it was okay to steal, and besides, no one got hurt.

Laws are set in place to allow us to coexist peacefully and safely in society. If we find excuses to break or bend a law to satisfy our own desires, then anyone can bend or break any law in order to satisfy their desires.

And society breaks down and we lose everything we hold dear.

Breaking any law is an act of selfish desire. You break the law in order to fulfill a self-centered desire. And sooner or later it will bite you right where you sit.

Like the possibility that an officer will show up at your door one day to inform you that one of your kids has died or killed someone else in a speeding-related accident. You will have to live with the fact that it was your example that encouraged them to speed.

The really sad part of all this is that we live in the Bible Belt. Christians are commanded to obey their civil authorities. (Romans 13:7). The speed limit is a law set by those authorities. Can you imagine the effect on our society if believers actually obeyed the traffic laws?

Oh, that's right. Think of all those stupid people driving the speed limit. Darn...

Casting_Fool 03/05/13 - 01:45 am
Sorry, that reference was

Sorry, that reference was Romans 13:1-7.

sam spangler
sam spangler 03/05/13 - 04:06 pm
The proposed law making it

The proposed law making it illegal to drive in the left lane on multilane roads except to pass would have more negative impact than positive. I agree that traffic moving slower than the speed limit should move to the right lane as soon as practical. Otherwise they negate one great advantage of multilane roads. However, in heavy traffic, it is ridiculous to force all traffic to be crowded into the right lane just to enable speeders to speed by, endangering everyone. Also, would “multilane” apply to roads like Washington Road? Imagine Washington Road at 8AM with a solid line of traffic in the right lane from Evans to downtown and only speeders in the left lane. How ridiculous!! A better option would be to just install a speed governor on Rep. Bill Hitchens’s car.

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