Raleigh, N.C. — 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.