Georgia: "Slowpoke Bill" Moves Forward

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
georgia slowpoke bill moves forward

We try to cover a lot of the stories in which politics and automobiles intersect, and frankly, most of them are just plain depressing. From biofuel frauds to speed cameras, it seems that motorists as a political class tend to be reactive rather than proactive. Not so in Georgia, where 11Alive reports that a bill is moving through the state legislature that would establish a minimum fine for driving to slow in the passing lane. If there’s a cause that every driver can get behind, this is it. In case you don’t appreciate the depth of annoyance most feel about left-lane bandits, Georgia State Rep. Mark Butler is on hand to explain:

They’re causing a lot of frustration for the drivers behind them. They’re also causing people to weave in and out of traffic in order to get around the slower drivers, which also causes a much larger hazard…. The left-hand lane on these multi-lane roads is supposed to be used for passing only. We’re not trying to get people to go faster, we’re just trying to get people to quit clogging up the lane that’s supposed to be used for passing.

Indeed. Though any idiot can understand the idea of a speed limit, a vast reserve of anecdotal evidence suggests that few American motorists are well versed in the art of passing lane etiquette. Interestingly, the world’s best lane discipline is probably practiced on the German autobahn, where high to nonexistent speed limits make dawdling in the left lane a dangerous undertaking. Loath though we are to see motorists targeted for extra fees, bills like this one are long overdue.[Hat Tip: Don Gammil]

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  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on Feb 16, 2010

    @ yotacarfan There is aggressive driving, and there is also passive aggressive driving. And then there is courteous driving. That means being courteous to the people behind you as well as those in front of you.

  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on Feb 16, 2010

    For left lane hogs, I don't think massachusetts is so bad--contrary to one poster somewhere above. The DC area is worse (where I am this month). Anyway, I hope the Georgians pass their bill. This is what I call a feel-good story.

  • Donkensler Donkensler on Feb 17, 2010

    The worst experience I had was once on the Ohio Turnpike. Was cruising along when suddenly saw tail lights ahead and had to slow to the limit. Then traffic picked up for a while, then more tail lights. This continued for about a half hour until I got near the head of the line and found the leader was someone who slowed to about 2 mph faster then the right lane traffic while he was passing them, then would speed back up to 70 or so when he was done passing. Had to do about 85 to clear him before the next right lane traffic when it was my turn. To be charitable, maybe he was paranoid about accidentally passing an unmarked statie, but still... Which brings me to the people who won't pass a cop who is clearly going under the limit on a clear dry highway (it's happened - maybe he's getting off at the next exit). Some of the worst lane discipline I've seen is on the creeper lanes on hilly or mountainous two-lane highways (mostly in the west). Semis usually are pretty good about moving to the right, but Ma and Pa Kettle in the RV just won't. When I encounter that situation, I just assume the RV contains Ma and Pa K, and plan to dart right as soon as the lane appears. Of course then you get Ma and Pa doing 21 up the hill passing a semi doing 20... And for those who have said that if you're doing the limit in the left lane and I pass you it means I'm speeding, leave that between me and the cops. Do you go out of your way to enforce other laws yourself?

  • Vaujot Vaujot on Feb 17, 2010

    "Interestingly, the world’s best lane discipline is probably practiced on the German autobahn, where high to nonexistent speed limits make dawdling in the left lane a dangerous undertaking." In my view as someone living in Germany, at least when traffic denses up, left lane discipline still leaves something to be desired. The rule would be only to use the left lane to pass but many use the left lane as long as they are not slower than the car in front of them. Often, you'll see about 50% of the cars in the left, 35% in the middle and 15% in the right lane.