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The left lane

Posted: December 19, 2013 9:22 a.m.
Updated: December 20, 2013 5:00 a.m.

A Greenville legislator has pre-filed a bill in the General Assembly that would prohibit motorists from driving slowly in the left lane, thus holding up traffic. It would also ban drivers from using cell phones in the left lane and would make it illegal to drive five miles per hour slower than the posted limit while in the left lane. And it would outlaw ever driving in the left lane except for passing other cars.

While it’s an appealing bill, it’s probably not practical. However, it’s not nearly so outlandish as its most vocal critics would have you believe. Other states have similar laws, including California, which has perhaps the heaviest traffic in the nation. Lawmakers here in the Palmetto State passed a similar bill back in 2005, but it was vetoed by then-Gov. Mark Sanford.

We have commented before on the irritating practice of drivers languishing in the left lane, oblivious to the fact they’re holding up traffic behind them. And we’ve also remarked on the fact that truckers often pull into the passing lane and stay there for miles, unable to overtake vehicles they’re trying to pass. Of course, representatives of the trucking industry oppose such a bill, but they’re major violators of good road policy.

It would be interesting to witness a hearty debate on this subject. Of course, it would also be good to see legislators pass a no-texting-while-driving bill, which they have shown no inclination to do. But in any case, it’s a subject that’s worth examining, and worse laws have certainly been passed.

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