We have all been there. Behind a motorist crawling along in the left lane. Irritating? Yes! Unsafe? Yes, again…especially on two lane highways where a misjudged pass could result in a head-on collision.
If you live in Oregon you know that Oregonians are among the most hesitant, slow drivers as memorialized in the Portlandia TV skit “You go”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-baV-xULLk. Meanwhile, less funny states are taking action against slow riders in the left lane. For example, Portlanders who travel a few miles north know (or learn the hard way) that in Washington State, the left lane is reserved for passing or cars with two or more passengers and motorcycles.
Now, New Jersey, the state with the popular Republican Governor, may soon be very uncool toward slow left lane riders.
Under a new New Jersey bill awaiting signature by Governor Chris Christie, New Jersey’s left lane slow riders will incur double fines–. New Jersey motorists who crawl along in the left or center lanes instead of passing in the left lane will incur fines between $100 and $300.
“On behalf of road rage, I move the bill,” said Assemblyman Gilbert “Whip” Wilson (D-Camden), a co-sponsor of the measure, which passed 69-7. Wilson said New Jersey’s law is clear — a vehicle has to stay right except when overtaking another vehicle or preparing for a left turn. A partial exception exists for trucks which could use left lanes to prepare for a turn or in the case of “poor visibility, snow, accidents or the presence of emergency vehicles. “Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon and bill co-sponsor added:
“One driver cruising along in the left lane can cause dozens of other drivers to become frustrated, leading to more incidents of aggressive driving and additional, unnecessary lane changes — which, in turn, lead to more accidents,” he said.
LeSteve Carrellas of the National Motorists Association driving rights group, found it fitting that the bill was being passed in June, which his association has designated as “Lane Courtesy Month. Although Oregonians are generally very courteous drivers. Still, we could take a clue from New Jersey lawmakers. Slow left lane riders (and camping out at a stop sign) are neither courteous nor safe. You first.