Enforce the laws penalizing dangerous and annoying left-lane hogging

In Opinion
(Courtesy of Flickr)

The furthest left lane has a purpose, and it is not to take a leisurely drive. Everyone with a driver’s license should know this rule.

Cruising in the fast lane is not only maddening and often dangerous, it is illegal in most states, including California.

However, the current legislation is not effective. People still do it and get away with it.

California law states that “if a vehicle is being driven at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic … and is not being driven in the right-hand lane for traffic … it shall constitute prima facie evidence that the driver is operating the vehicle in violation.”

The violation of this law is rarely, if ever, enforced and that is the problem.

Freeways in Southern California are large. Most contain at least five or more lanes. There is no excuse to lollygag and impede the flow of traffic by crawling at a snail’s pace in the left lane. Pick another one — preferably the furthest to the right.

In 2015, traffic deaths rose by 7.2 percent from the previous year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. This is the largest increase in 50 years.

There are many factors that contribute to this lethal uptick, and although there is no research stating that it is a major safety concern, logic leads to the conclusion that hogging the left lane definitely plays a part. There is overwhelming evidence that speeding is dangerous, and it’s only made worse by loitering in the fast lane. Forcing faster traffic to pass on the right and causing unnecessary weaving and lane changing needs to be monitored better.

At best, this is aggravating, and at worst, it is a deadly issue. California must do more to enforce its current laws.

Florida, Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey and Tennessee have all increased penalties for driving slow in the left lane, and Oklahoma, Oregon and Virginia are attempting to do the same.

Oregon’s Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick stated that hogging the left lane leads to “unsafe behaviors,” like road rage, tailgating and passing on the right.

California needs to follow the other states that are actively fighting this problem, or driving slow in the fast lane will continue to be a hazardous problem that disrupts the flow of traffic.

While California is among the 29 states that require slow drivers to move, it does nothing more than gawk at accidents as violators dawdle along and further congest roads.

The dangers of lingering in what is meant to be a fast lane are obvious. If a car is moving slow, it is a roadblock. It forces those traveling at normal left lane speeds to slam on the brakes or pass to the right.

The left lane is not meant to guide someone along on a weekend cruise of sightseeing. Its purpose is to get people from point A to point B in the quickest manner possible.

Freeways and, more importantly, the left lane, are for fast-moving traffic. Those who want to drive slow, should take surface streets or stay in their lane.

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