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New law: Move right or get a ticket

POSTED: July 16, 2014 12:34 a.m.

A DOT reminder in the median of I-985 northbound near mile marker 15.

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A new law makes not moving over to another lane when there’s faster traffic behind you an offense for which you could get a ticket.

Rep. Eddie Lumsden, R-Armuchee, said this law, which went into effect July 1, shouldn’t come as a surprise to motorists.

“One of the first things I learned when I took my driver’s test was slower traffic keep right,” Lumsden said. “Georgia law says that already in two code sections, but that language is buried in those other two code sections. What this does is breaks this out and puts in a stand-alone bill.”

The previous wording was not enough to keep slow drivers out of the left lanes, said Rep. Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville.

“What we’ve experienced, unfortunately, is that without any penalty a lot of people were not obeying that law,” Hawkins said. “So this bill simply puts the penalty phase into it.”

The reworded bill says that “no person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation.”

Drivers can face up to a $1,000 fine, a year in prison and points on their license, according to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

Hawkins was the second to sign House Bill 459 after Rep. Bill Hitchens, R-Rincon, sponsored it.

“The reason for this and how this came about was a safety issue,” Hawkins said. “We’ve got people trying to pass on the interstate on the right-hand side and unfortunately we have cars (speeding) in those lanes.”

Hawkins said he hopes the law will also relieve some congestion by consolidating some traffic to the right-hand lane.
For Gainesville law enforcement, the law might prove difficult to enforce, said Cpl. Kevin Holbrook, Gainesville Police Department spokesman.

“With Gainesville’s location, we typically monitor Interstate 985,” Holbrook said. “Many times during peak hours, 985 is so congested that it is hard to enforce a law such as this.”

Because this is a new law, he said, law enforcement will allow a grace period before handing out citations.

“It is a law on the books now and it is something that we as law enforcement can act on and write a citation if necessary,” he said. “But each case is different and it depends on the actual scenario that the officer will be dealing with.”


MountainMan57: July 16, 2014 7:38 a.m.

I hope they begin enforcement. I haven't seen it so far.

lou2: July 16, 2014 9:03 a.m.

So if the people wanting to pass in the left lane are exceeding the speed limit, why should anyone move over for them? It is ridiculous to give a ticket to a person in the passing lane who is doing the speed limit, and not to those who are exceeding it. This could easily happen when the police interpret this law to mean that holding up speeders gets you a ticket. Around here, almost anything will get you a ticket.

macrhino: July 16, 2014 10:50 a.m.

@lou2 writes: "So if the people wanting to pass in the left lane are exceeding the speed limit, why should anyone move over for them?"

Because passing on the right is more dangerous than speeding. Because sitting in the passing lane is more dangerous than speeding. Because drivers with your attitude are more dangerous than speeders. If you are holding up traffic, regardless of that traffic's speed. YOU ARE THE DANGER.

I lived in Germany for a large part of my adult life. Germany has the only highway system in the world with large parts having no speed limit. Yet their fatality rate per passenger mile is less than 1/2 that of Georgia.

One of the best reasons for this is the fact that road laws are enforced in Germany and they have two very strict laws on the autobahns.

1. No passing on the right side unless in a traffic slowdown.
2. KEEP RIGHT except to pass. No LEFT LANE DRIVING!

People driving in the left lane are a road hazard. People who think they should be the ones "enforcing speeding laws" by blocking others are a GREAT danger.

myview: July 16, 2014 6:16 p.m.

macrhino: Amen to your comments 100 times. So many drivers think it is smart to get in left lane and block faster traffic. Apparently they have no authority anywhere else so they try to be the boss on the hwy.

lou2: July 17, 2014 10:41 a.m.

Why should you assume anyone who objects to speeders is blocking the left lane? Anonymous comments seem to bring out the worst in some people. Angry and insulting--makes you wonder what kind of life those people are living. These are not people I want to be around, even on a newspaper website.

I don't personally know anyone who intentionally gets into the left lane to block speeders, and assume that posts from people like those above are the speeders who think everyone should get out of their way. This is called road rage and it causes accidents. Find out what is making you so angry in your life and try to fix it.

jeremy: July 17, 2014 4:34 p.m.

lou2 will be getting one of these tickets soon

myview: July 17, 2014 8:31 p.m.

lou2 it is because of people like you, that don't know any better, that a law that could be enforced had to be passed. What is the point of driving in the left lane when you can drive in the right lane with all the other slow drivers?

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