Anyone who commutes regularly on the highway system has no doubt encountered slow drivers traveling in the left lane. For some, it’s a small inconvenience. For others, it can lead to bouts of road rage. A bill proposed in Maryland looks to fine drivers who remain in the left lane.
The sponsor of the bill hopes that the bill will ease bottlenecks and reduce road rage. When slow drivers remain in the left lane, it requires other drivers to pass them on the right hand side. In fact, many states actually have laws prohibiting passing on the right hand side except in extreme circumstances. But ask anyone what their opinion is of a slow driver after they’ve been stuck behind them for a few miles and you are likely to hear a few R-rated phrases. And it’s that rage that the bill is intended to eliminate.
How States Combat Slow Drivers
Most states have laws related to slow drivers, but the effect of these laws varies. MIT has a handy chart that compares all “Keep Right” laws. Only a few states permit the left lane to be used only for passing or turning left. Most states, however, only require drivers to keep right if they are going slower than the normal speed of traffic. Via Wis. Stat. § 346.05(3), Wisconsin falls into this category. The fine for failing to follow this law in Wisconsin is between $30-300, though it is rarely enforced.
Opponents to the Slow Driver Bill
Opponents say that moving to the right should be encouraged as a courtesy, but that the drivers should not be fined for failing to do so. They also fear that it encourages other motorists to drive even faster which will lead to more accidents. Despite the opposition, the Maryland bill looks like it is going to pass and become law.
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