Minding the rear view mirror is something we all should do as careful drivers. But the Georgia legislature is about to put a bigger violation on driving too slowly in the left lane on those who fail to move over in certain circumstances. When driving in the left lane, traffic on a divided road is generally going faster than those in the right lane. But sometimes vehicles behind us as we drive in the left lane are clearly intending to go faster than we are traveling. In those instances, the law will be that slower drivers must move over to let the faster traffic pass. This avoids traffic pulling around and having to pass on the right. We all have likely been in both situations.
This new law will apply to those traveling on Georgia’s divided highways as well as our interstates. House Bill 459 has been passed through our Senate. It will be a misdemeanor for slower left lane traffic to fail to move to the right. The language of the bill states that drivers may not impede the flow of traffic by driving too slowly in the left lane. But there are some exceptions that are a matter of common sense. In the case of an emergency or severe weather it might be necessary to drive more slowly. The rule will not apply when there are situations involving construction, emergency vehicles on the right or when a vehicle needs to exit on the left. It is now up to the Governor to sign the bill to make it law.
The express language of the HB 459 makes it clear when a driver should know or reasonably know that he or she is being overtaken from another vehicle from the rear that is traveling at a higher rate of speed. We have all had the experience of driving in the left lane behind a vehicle that just won’t move over. Many times drivers are engaged in conversation or are otherwise oblivious to checking their rear view mirror to notice that another driver is trying to overtake them.
According to reports, lawmakers were not intending to encourage speeding in enacting this law, but rather were trying to address a situation that can endanger drivers and passengers. In situations in which a slow driver is in the left lane, someone driving the speed limit might be impeded by a driver traveling under the speed limit. This often causes a need to pass on the right, which is not as safe. It can also cause a driver traveling at the speed limit in the left lane, to have to quickly slow down to deal with the slow poke in the left lane. In turn those traveling at a higher rate of speed behind those vehicles may have to quickly slow down and so on. This creates a potential for accident and injury.
The situation that the new law would address does not necessarily mean that the faster driver is exceeding the speed limit. Sometimes slower drivers just stay in the left lane without understanding that it is their duty to allow the faster vehicle to pass. This bill attempts to address this situation by making it a misdemeanor to continue to drive in these circumstances. If HB 459 is signed by the Governor and goes into effect, it will be interesting to see how the law is enforced.
When an accident occurs, it can be because a slower driver was creating a dangerous situation. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, it might not be clear to you whether someone else was at fault and responsible for your injuries. The best way to determine this is to consult with an expert who handles these types of accidents and injuries on a regular basis. Please feel free to contact me at my law offices to consult with me at no charge regarding your accident and injuries.