This weekly post features recent news stories that highlight and update themes previously covered throughout NMA E-Newsletters and Alerts.
Editor’s Note: The Alaska Dispatch News recently reported that some state lawmakers don’t seem to be spending their time on the substantive issues of the day. Instead, they’re passing ceremonial bills, debating resolutions to create an “Alaska School Choice Week” and holding hearings on whether or not to exempt Alaska from Daylight Saving Time. The paper also included a Lane Courtesy bill on the list of frivolous measures. Of course, Lane Courtesy, the practice of yielding or moving over for faster traffic, is not frivolous because it promotes safe, efficient traffic flow. NMA President Gary Biller said as much when he testified via phone before the Alaska legislative committee considering the bill. The NMA supports any reasonable efforts to enforce Lane Courtesy. Here’s what we said about a similar Georgia bill a few years ago.
NMA Email Newsletter #Issue 62: Life in the Fast Lane
The NMA has long been a vocal proponent of lane courtesy. In fact, we continually promote the safety practice of moving to the right to allow faster traffic to pass, putting a special emphasis on educating the public by designating every June as Lane Courtesy Month.
The pleasure and freedom of motoring around on our nation’s highways can be ruined by just one slow driver hogging the left-hand lane. Traffic ceases to be free-flowing, and the resulting congestion causes sudden braking, rapid lane changes and irritation to even the most mild-mannered of motorists. Unsettled drivers and constricted driving conditions are a terrible combination for safe traveling.
Most states have “slower traffic keep right” laws, but seldom are those laws enforced. Georgia State Representative Mark Butler has had enough and, as any good Bulldog fan would do, wants to put more teeth into the penalties for left lane blockers. His bill, HB 1047, was introduced a few weeks ago and would charge violators a minimum $75 fine.
Motorists are subjected to too many fines, fees and surcharges, and the NMA speaks out regularly against such penalties. It may seem paradoxical that we would support Rep. Butler’s bill, which has since reported out of the House Committee favorably, but it has two things going for it:
- It may actually lower the current misdemeanor penalty for lane hogging which carries a maximum fine of $1000.
- Additional exposure of this underreported topic is always welcome.
Moving right to clear the left lane for faster moving traffic is a very important concept for traffic safety, and for the continued enjoyment of the roadways by the motoring public. We’ll see if Georgia has found a way to drive this point home.