Bill penalizing slowpoke left lane drivers tabled

News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, March 20, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Last month, Rep. Bill Hitchens introduced the bill that would make it illegal to drive in the left lane unless you're passing another car, but he has since decided to table it.

"Really you just want to be just like, 'Will you just move over?' and they're stopping and going, and it just gets you real aggravated," said driver Denita McClendon.

It's a feeling shared by countless drivers when they encounter those infamous slowpoke left lane drivers, and thanks to Hitchens, Georgia almost had a law to combat it.

"The bill was because of a nerve that I've seen struck by multitudes of people. So, people who are driving slower in the left hand lane would move to the right to allow those who are driving a little faster to move on down the highway," Hitchens said.

The bill isn't just about settling the nerves of other drivers.

Lt. Ramone Lamkin of the Richmond County Traffic Division says clogging up the left lane can lead to dangerous behavior on the road.

"Getting aggressive, passing off in emergency lane, riding people's bumper, blowing the horn, using profanity, leading to road rage," Lamkin said.

"Probably causes some accidents that are on the road," McClendon said.

According to the bill, impeding traffic in the left lane could get you pulled over and ticketed.

It wasn't hard to find a left lane driver around Augusta.

"I'm going the speed limit, but I'm about to overtake him, and the speed limit's actually 45 mph, and I'm going 40, so I'm going faster than what they're going," Lamkin said.

But Hitchens tabled the bill when he realized there was some confusion about speed.

"The issue is do people still get over if the people behind them are very obviously violating the speed limit? My perspective is they should," he said.

Just because it's tabled doesn't mean you'll be dealing with frustrating left lane drivers forever.

"I think I could have passed it this year. I got support from everywhere. It's more important to me to make sure that we do it right than to get it passed," Hitchens said.

The Georgia House runs a two-year cycle, meaning this bill will pick up right where it left off next year. Until then, they'll rework what the bill says about the speed.

Click here to read House Bill 459.

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