House zips ahead with passing lane bill

Posted April 24

— A bill that would create a $200 fine for impeding traffic in the left lane of a limited-access highway moved ahead in the House on Monday.

The Senate put the brakes on a similar measure last week, but Reps. Duane Hall, D-Wake, and Jon Hardister, R-Guilford, tweaked their proposal to address concerns brought up in the Senate debate.

The revised proposal, which cleared the House Transportation Committee on a voice vote, would delay issuing tickets for a year so that drivers could be educated about the rules. After some debate, committee members also removed language that could have led to someone driving in the left lane at less than the speed limit being ticketed even if there was no other traffic.

"You can still camp out in the left lane, but if a car comes up behind you, you need to move over," Hall said.

Rep. John Faircloth, R-Guilford, a former police chief, said the bill seems to encourage speeding, but Hall said the State Highway Patrol asked for the bill, noting that "clusters and bundles of traffic" create more accidents than speeding.

In other business, the House Transportation Committee passed legislation that would eliminate the helmet requirement for motorcycle riders age 21 and older. Younger riders would still have to wear a helmet. Although representatives of two medical groups spoke against the bill, but sponsor Rep. Michael Speciale, R-Craven, called it a question of personal responsibility. Similar proposals have failed in previous sessions.

The committee also approved initial regulations for fully autonomous vehicles that may one day be operating on state roads.


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  • Rodney Hill Apr 25, 11:34 a.m.
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    Uh, yeah WRAL, the much bigger story is the helmet law repeal...

    As a rider, I'm of the (unpopular within the rider community) opinion that helmets are a good thing (especially on highways). It's undeniable that they save lives. I have a friend who's been an ER doc in both SC (no helmet law) and NC. He said the difference in prognosis for someone involved in a motorcycle accident is night and day depending on if they're wearing a helmet. That was enough to convince me to wear a helmet on the highway (even when not required).

  • Brian Gaertner Apr 25, 9:32 a.m.
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    What does bother me is those knuckleheads that, when driving through town, feel the need to see if they can hit 100 mph before they get to the next traffic light. I think it should be made illegal for those clowns to OWN a helmet to begin with 😃

  • Brian Gaertner Apr 25, 9:25 a.m.
    user avatar

    A retired police officer once told me that the only difference a helmet really makes is whether the motorcyclists get to have an open casket funeral if they get in a serious wreck.

  • Karen Orndorff Apr 25, 7:52 a.m.
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    I don't think the helmet law is a good idea, lots of head injuries without them.

  • Henry Cooper Apr 25, 7:34 a.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Actually the fatality rate is much higher in states with no helmet law and may save us money.

  • Erika Phipps Apr 24, 8:04 p.m.
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    People can ride without helmets all they want, but I don't think it's fair my health insurance premiums may go up to cover their head injuries.