Passing lane bill fails to yield in Senate

Posted April 19

— A Senate committee hit the brakes Wednesday on a bill that would have created a $200 fine for impeding traffic in the left lane of a limited-access highway.

Senate Bill 303 sponsor Sen. Jeff Tarte, R-Mecklenburg, said North Carolina is one of only five states that doesn't have some type of provision requiring left-lane drivers to move over when other drivers are seeking to pass them.

Tarte told the Senate Transportation Committee that his proposal is a hybrid of laws in Florida and Georgia.

"It's a safety issue, first and foremost," he said, noting that it would reduce passing on the right, congestion and road rage generated by left-lane drivers "trying to enforce the law with their own vehicles."

"It's not any individual motorist's responsibility to enforce the speed limit of another driver," he added.

The fine for a violation would not have included any license points, but members of the committee still couldn't go along with it as written.

Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, said he was pulled over once in West Virginia by a trooper for "impeding traffic" because he was going 55 in a posted 55-mph work zone, but 11 people behind him wanted to pass him.

"I was holding up traffic," Rabon conceded, "but traffic shouldn't have been going over 55."

Sen. Warren Daniel, R-Burke, argued that a driver doing 74 in a 65-mph zone could get a left-lane yield ticket for not getting out of the way of drivers who want to go even faster.

"I would hate to think that I would be the one getting the ticket when somebody behind me is going faster than me," agreed Sen. Shirley Randleman, R-Wilkes, adding that current law already allows officers to stop a vehicle for impeding traffic. "Why it's not being enforced, I can't tell you."

The measure failed almost unanimously on a voice vote, which means the measure is dead for the session. However, a companion bill remains alive in the House.


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  • Kevin Weidner Apr 20, 12:59 p.m.
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    "I was holding up traffic," Rabon conceded, "but traffic shouldn't have been going over 55."

    This is the exact mentality the fine was to address. This is the mindset of 50% of the left lane riders. The other 50% are too busy on their phones to realize they are creating a safety issue-

    George Orwell - LEO can also pull you over for not maintaining the MINIMUM speed limit posted but have not made one of thoses stops since before I was born! (sarcasam but true)

  • Jim Dunn Apr 19, 1:15 p.m.
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    LEO can still pull you over violating the "Slower Drivers Keep Right" law and give you a ticket for it. No points and just court costs without the fine. But it is rarely used. I know a lot of slower drivers will ride the left lane in RTP because it's also the no trunk lane.

    I know the one behind may be speeding more than you are, but please more over for them so they don't go cutting in and out and get one of us innocents killed. Hopefully, a LEO or fate will deal with them.