Lawmakers consider bill raising fine for driving slow in left lane

Local News

A bill is making its way through the Virginia General Assembly that would increase fines for driving slow in the left lane.

State law requires drivers traveling slower than the normal speed of traffic to stay in the right lane. That means the left lane is only for passing or making a left turn.

If House Bill 2201 becomes law, the fine would increase from no more than $250 to a $250 flat fine per violation.

While many drivers we spoke with support the bill, some wonder how effective a fine increase may be.

“I think it’s nonsense when people drive slow in the left lane because the left lane is usually made for speed only,” said Justin Quick, Roanoke resident.

“Even in heavy traffic, it can be a pretty big issue when people are trying to get somewhere, especially like rush hour,” said Jackson Harbeson, Roanoke County resident. 

Harbeson said he has seen people driving slower in the left lane on local highways like Route 220. He said he supports the fine increase and thinks it can encourage slower traffic to stick to the right lane.

“I think it’s a good idea just ’cause it clogs up the lanes a lot,” Harbeson said.

“It is frustrating, but also just everybody needs to calm down and realize that maybe they didn’t know and everybody’s just trying to get places they need to go safely,” said Trae Livick, Salem resident. 

While Livick said he thinks it is unsafe when people drive slow in the left lane, he does not think the bill will get people to change their driving habits.

“I really don’t think it’s going to do anything to deter it because I don’t see the cops actually pull anybody over for it,” Livick said. 

Others we spoke with said they are opposed to the bill, wishing state lawmakers would focus on other issues.

“I think they’re going to find any way they can to make more money,” said Tara James, Roanoke resident. “It’s ridiculous, the kind of things that we are so worried about this day and time, with so much other stuff going on, we’re worried about how people are driving slow in a left lane.”

The bill passed in the House of Delegates and now must pass in the Virginia Senate before being sent to the governor’s desk for his signature.

According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, there were at least 1,700 convictions statewide in 2016 for failure to drive on the right half of the highway.

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