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New bill targets slow drivers in left lane for ‘obnoxious, inconsiderate and dangerous behavior’

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SEATTLE -- When drivers were asked about their pet peeves on the highways, people driving too slow in the fast lane came up again and again.

“It frustrates me, for sure,” said Dayton Jones.

“I typically drive around cars a lot,” added Ivana Cho.

“I get you’re being a cautious driver,” Lauren Marcus said. “But it’s almost as unsafe to go under the speed limit as it is to go over.”

State Senator Michael Baumgartner agrees. Last week, he introduced Senate Bill 6105 to create a new traffic offense called aggravated left lane driving. He says it’s “obnoxious, inconsiderate and dangerous behavior.”

Q13 FOX News reached out to the Washington State Patrol. Spokesperson Bob Calkins say there is already a state law prohibiting left lane driving.

“The left lane is always intended to be a passing lane. It is not one intended by the legislature to be one that people cruise in continuously,” said Calkins.

In 2014, troopers pulled over 14,000 drivers for left lane violations, but in many cases they only issued a warning.

Baumgartner’s bill calls for penalties of $124 or more, depending on how far under the speed limit drivers are going. Some say that’s a good idea.

“If you’re going to get a speeding ticket for going over the speed limit, then you should get a slow ticket for going too slow,” said Marcus.

WSP says they appreciate any efforts by lawmakers to make our roads safer, but it’s hard to prove just how dangerous slow drivers in the left lanes may be.

“We have a challenge connecting this to traffic fatalities,” said Calkins. “We’re unaware of any collisions that originated with someone passing on the right to get around a left lane camper and ultimately crashing.”

Since the current legislative session is wrapping up, Senator Baumgartner says it’s not likely his bill will move forward. But he says he will continue to push the issue, and hopefully get some drivers to think twice before they get in the left lane.

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23 comments

  • Nolan Foss

    How about we just post the “Left Lane for Passing Only” signs in the Puget Sound Metro area? and then start teaching this in Driver’s Education!! And maybe those in the media could actually focus on the greater threat on the road Those “Passive Aggressive” drivers that cause WAY more trouble than the Aggressive drivers do!!

    • dg54321

      There are already signs all over WA that say “KEEP RIGHT EXCEPT TO PASS”, nobody listens to them. More signs aren’t the answer.

  • Dink

    Agree with other. Unnecessary. BTW…just a side note, there is no “fast” lane. The speed limit on Washington freeways is the same in all lanes. Get your verbiage right. Stick with “left lane” violators.

  • "peety"

    faced with Contempt of Court charges for not funding education, Baumgartner shows us what his priorities are, getting him home from work faster. Pathetic.

    • tootietuttle

      no…getting us ALL home from work…teachers don’t have to worry about that because they’ve all retired on PERS1 fatcat pensions which we funded because of whiners who claim that there isn’t enough money for schools.

  • Ryan

    Cuz driving slower is dangerous lol. It may be irritating and obnoxious but the angry road ragers are going to be more dangerous than someone driving slow in the fast lane. Pointless law for the cops to generate more revenue. Yay America!

  • BearTex3

    In 2014, troopers pulled over 14,000 drivers for left lane violations, but in many cases they only issued a warning.

    That is the problem, they pull over drivers for driving in the Left Lane but they almost always just issue a warning. If they start writing a citation, then maybe more people will stay out of the Left Lane except to pass, which is what it is for. And I was actually one of those left lane drivers that pulled over last year. It was about 0400 and I was on my way to work and I was actually driving about 68mph in a 60 zone and the lights came on. I thought I was going to get nailed for speeding. But when the Trooper came up to me and after he asked for my paperwork, he asked why he pulled me over. I said speeding and he said no for driving in the left lane. He told me I was supposed to keep right except to pass and since there was no one else on the road, then I was not passing anyone. I got a warning. Not that I am bragging that I did not get a ticket, but it reminded me of what was on my driving test. Even though I still drive in the left lane it is only for passing. I always get over and I never realized till after that traffic stop, how many drivers just camp in that left lane. They will hit the freeway and shoot straight across to the left lane and camp and will usually pace a car right next to them to prevent passing. And next thing you know there is a group of cars right behind them. On the interstate there is sometimes a chance to jump across a couple lanes to pass the idiot i the left lane, but on 2 lane highway that is not an option. It is almost like those who camp in the left lane feel inferior when they are leading the traffic jam behind them. Maybe that is the issue with those drivers. They have no self esteem or the feel bullied in their everyday life and the way they feel they can get back at the world is to piss people off by driving slow in the left lane. Which all that causes is road rage and causes others to drive stupid and they will tailgate the slow driver or whip around them and cut them off and then the next thing you know someone is getting brake checked. Which then causes either a wreck or a bigger traffic jam. Drive safe people

  • melody

    in a crowded highway, there is no passing. all lanes are being used to accommodate all the cars. the whole freeway is obnoxious, inconsiderate and dangerous.

  • TheAbsoluteTruth

    People that tailgate and speed all together are very mentally disturbed and need help very bad before they hurt the innocent people like us that really know how to drive which their License should be suspended and so they Can’t drive at all. And i am very surprised that this law isn’t enforced at all since this has become a very serious problem today.

  • LetTheTruthBeKnown

    What about many people that Tailgate in the right lane? They should be in the left lane instead since they are very mentally disturbed pathetic losers to begin with since they should be taken off the road and their License should be taken away from them.

  • Mick Ferrari

    WSP sit above the traffic on overpasses and watch all day long. Watch, and probably laugh, while drivers have to move right 1-3 lanes to get around a car in the left lane holding back 5 more. As a member of the 100mile/day club, I experience left lane campers all day, everyday. The law is there, same as for speeding. It just needs to be enforced and the penalty needs to be the same as speeding or reckless driving. I have NEVER had a friend or coworker tell me, even when asked, that they have received a ticket for a left lane violation. some of them even brag about intentionally blocking the lane “to control speeders”. I have never seen a lighted sign, outside of construction zones, that tell drivers to KEEP LEFT EXCEPT TO PASS. I say there needs to be as much or more continued enforcement of the lane violation as speeding. Its the only thing that drivers will respond to over time.