We've all been there. We're trying to drive efficiently to get to our destination. Traffic is light and moving well. We're cruising along in a middle lane on 400 North or 400 South, or I-285, and then we need to pass a slower-moving vehicle in front of us. We move to the left lane--just to pass--and distressingly, there's a slow moving vehicle practically parked in the left lane, pacing traffic or worse, driving 55-60mph to everyone else's 65-70 mph. Vehicles pile up behind you forming a long, dangerous line of cars moving with mere feet between them - all waiting on the slow driver to wake up and exit the left lane. Your efficient trip down the highway has come to a frustrating end.
Is it technically correct to drive 55 to 60 miles an hour on the highway? Of course; that's the posted speed limit on many highways in Georgia. Is it SAFE and PRUDENT to drive much more slowly than most everyone else and obstruct traffic flow while in the left lane?
Not so much! Georgia drivers, take heart - legislation was introduced today that would make it illegal to "linger" in what we all know as the fast lane. (beware, there is road rage even in the comments!).
The new bill would prohibit travel in the left lane except to overtake and pass slower vehicles in the adjacent lane. And, a ticket would be issued to those impeding traffic when there is another vehicle attempting to get by. There are a list of exceptions to the proposed ban on travel in the left lane. One will not be able to drive in the left lane except for :
- when weather conditions make it impractical or difficult to drive in other lanes;
- when no other vehicle is behind the car in the left lane;
- passing another vehicle;
- when there are obstructions or hazards in the other right lanes;
- when a vehicle changes lanes to comply with other laws (moving over for emergency vehicles);
- to pay tolls or use a toll pass;
- when driving in the left lane complies with traffic control.
The bill would exempt emergency vehicles, construction and highway maintenance vehicles. For more information and the text of the proposed law, please see: Georgia House Bill 459.
"Left lane lurkers could be ticketed under new bill," Aaron Gould Shenin, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 25, 2013.
March 12, 2013 UPDATE: Maryland woman is cited for driving 63 mph in 65 mph zone.....but in the left lane. She is fighting the citation stating she was traveling in the left lane but "slowed down to be safe" because of high winds that day. Police say that driving in the left lane at less than the speed limit impedes traffic.