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'Slow-Poke Bill' Speeds Through Georgia House

House Bill 459 would require motorists to get out of the left lane when a faster car approaches from behind.

Patch file photo
Patch file photo

Left-lane “slow pokes,” watch out or get out of the way.

If legislation that was easily passed in the Georgia House Wednesday becomes law, it’ll be a misdemeanor not to move out of the left lane when a faster car is approaching from behind.

Rep. Bill Hitchens, author of House Bill 459, told the AJC, “Everybody knows this is the slow-poke bill.”

The bill was approved 162-9.

The bill reads, in part:

“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.”

Read the entire bill here

Hitchens, from Rincon, Ga., admitted enforcing the law would be difficult,  but likened the sentiment of it to the “good manners your mother should have taught you.”

He told the AJC that removing situations like a long back-up behind a slower car in the left lane could also diminish “the spark that ignites road rage.”

What Do You Think?

Should there be a law requiring left-lane drivers to get out of the way of faster vehicles? Tell us in the comments below.

North Georgia Weather February 27, 2014 at 06:18 AM
Finally. I can't believe all the inconsiderate people out there that immediately pull to the left lane and ride there. To hell with everyone else, as long as they can play on there phones, eat their food, and read their books, that's all that matters. And most people in the left lane can't even do the speed limit. GET OVER.
tj February 27, 2014 at 06:37 AM
What if I am in the left lane already exceeding the speed limit by 10 mph. Isn't that fast enough??
DaMoment February 27, 2014 at 06:39 AM
I was ticketed for following too closely behind a 'slow poke' in the left lane. The traffic in the right lane was moving much faster. I was then told by the Judge it was aggressive driving if the person in front of you is going the speed limit (although slower than everyone else) and you are trying to get them to move over. If the motorist in the left lane is doing the 'speed limit', then they shouldn't be ticketed. Motorists speeding shouldn't get a right of way, a law to break the law. If the person in the left lane is not at the max speed, then they are impeding the flow of traffic and should be cited. No brainer. The State should be careful about approving this law without conditions as there are left lane exits out there the 'slow pokes' may need to exit.
Big Willy February 27, 2014 at 07:36 AM
Omg, this would be awesome! If you oppose this law, chances are you are one of the many morons who never learned what the left lane is for. They should append that work trucks and limos (lamos) aren't allowed to use the lane at all. I'd love to see the self centered attitude of I own the road and everyone else can drive at my pace while I'm on the phone, stomped out like a roach. One reason this is dangerous is because it forces people to pass, potentially causing a fatal accident. I've also noticed that when you pass the slow moron in the left lane, they sometimes get aggressive, speed up from 44mph to 80 flashing their lights and tail gating. Problem for them is when they do it to a gun owner. At least this law would hold them accountable if/when it causes an accident or fatality.
Big Willy February 27, 2014 at 07:39 AM
Ever passed one of these idiots and look back to see 5 mile long line behind them, and an open road ahead? Yeah, get tf on, or gtf over. Be courteous, get over.
NeverMind February 27, 2014 at 07:41 AM
So does that mean if I'm going at the speed limit I have to move over for someone wanting to go faster than the speed limit?? Where's the logic in that? What's the point of having speed limits then? It's the speeders who should be ticketed. I'm going 75 most times and I get people trying to push me out of the road! It's not going to improve "road rage" it's going to make more bullies.
Mack February 27, 2014 at 08:04 AM
Keep right except to pass, move over and let the traffic flow. If that person wants to speed he will get the speeding ticket not you. Let them go. Now if you go slow and are holding up traffic you get the ticket.
G Grainger February 27, 2014 at 08:33 AM
I've been driving for over 50 years and I always thought there was already a law against staying in the left lane. That was always considered the "passing" lane. When did the laws ever change or was that just a common courtesy?
GuruLikeDrucker February 27, 2014 at 09:15 AM
@ NeverMind The simple answer to your question is yes. You have some warped sense of entitlement that makes it OK for you to go 75mph ( breaking the law) and deciding that no-body should be passing you at a faster speed. Your attitude about sums-up the root of road rage incidents. It isn't your place to decide that your 75mph acceptable but someone else who wants to go 80mph deserves to be left sitting behind your ego. Let the driver behind you pass and proceed at whatever speed he wants. Look at it this way... odds are that driver will get the ticket that you should be getting.
Sarah Cook February 27, 2014 at 09:41 AM
If one reads the actual language of the legislation, there are several exceptions to what sounds like an overly broad requirement to get over as reported in this article (and most others I found on the proposed law). Here are the exceptions: (1) When traffic conditions or congestion make it necessary to drive in the passing lane; (2) When inclement weather, obstructions, or hazards make it necessary to drive in the passing lane; (3) When compliance with a law of this state or with an official traffic control device makes it necessary to drive in the passing lane; (4) When a vehicle must be driven in the passing lane to exit or turn left; (5) On toll highways, when necessary to pay a toll or use a pass; (6) To authorized emergency vehicles engaged in official duties; or (7) To vehicles engaged in highway maintenance and construction operations." I read #1 to mean that if you're in the left lane already passing heavy traffic and another car comes up behind you, you're safe to continue passing until there's an opening to move right. There's a clear provision for left exits and turns in #4. And it appears that moving left to give space to an emergency vehicle on the right shoulder is accounted for in #3. I can't say I don't still have concerns, but it does appear that they drafted this law to specifically target people randomly camping out in the left lane.
Lisa G February 27, 2014 at 09:56 AM
Thanks for the clarification Sarah Cook. I avoid the left lane whenever possible, however the exit to I-285 South from I-20 Westbound is on the left. I am not going to drive 80 mph in a 60 mph zone, sorry.
Chris R February 27, 2014 at 10:35 AM
This law already exists in Georgia. You cannot impeed traffic, except in the right most lane (and under a laundry list similar to this new laws exceptions). It doesn't matter the speed you are going. As commented by people previously, this law is not enforced by cops and not known by judges. And our legislators don't know it as they are waisting time to write the law again.
KELLI February 27, 2014 at 11:30 AM
There are already signs on the highways that say: slow vehicles right lane only - aren't there?!
KELLI February 27, 2014 at 11:36 AM
?Do politicians even know their own states laws? I doubt it, or they would know there are already laws that say the same thing. Make sure the old slowpoke law is one of the questions in the DMV driving test - that's all they need to do. I'm so sick of new laws on top of old laws till we become burried in meaningless piled on laws!
Harry Ball February 27, 2014 at 11:43 AM
About time they stopped the self centered fools who are impeding the flow of traffic.
Ron February 27, 2014 at 07:23 PM
As usual this is an ill considered and poorly written proposed law. Another of many. What happens if a vehicle is in the left hand lane traveling at the maximum allowable speed limit at the time. Is this just an arrogant opportunity to legally break the law regarding speed limits? WOW what a huge waste of the taxpayers resources. Shame on you!
Gary Tanner Jr. February 27, 2014 at 10:43 PM
so if i am doing the speed limit or a little over in the left lane i can get charged because some ass hole is trying to kill someone by doing a hundred? it dont seem right to me
JACQUE February 27, 2014 at 11:45 PM
Gary Tanner Jr. and all the other idiots who don't seem to get it---------if you are in the left lane and someone is behind you who wants to go faster than you are, no matter how fast you are going, move over and let them go. Most accidents are caused by tailgating and not speed. Most road rage incidents are caused by frustrated drivers whose patients are tested by people who think they should stay in the left lane to enforce the speed limit of those behind them who may want to speed. You are not the speed police, let them by and let the police give them a ticket for speeding.
Get it right February 28, 2014 at 12:36 AM
Needs to be law...why people stay in the left lane daydreaming while the traffic builds up behind them is beyond me. Move over and let the flow of traffic move on.
KELLI February 28, 2014 at 12:36 AM
Actually it is the speeders who tend to lose control and cause accidents!
Helipi February 28, 2014 at 09:36 AM
Whether or not you are going the speed limit or 10 miles over, if someone is behind you, wanting to pass, please move over! Let them get the ticket. Why do you care which lane you are cruising in? It is not for you to dictate at what speed others should drive. I think most people recognize that people who don't move over because they think "You don't need to drive faster" or "I'm saving all of the other morons from an accident" ... You know that you are just seizing a brief moment to take control. Go see a Therapist and let the rest of us pass. Please! Thanks you.
M L Goins March 02, 2014 at 11:31 AM
So now the person in the left lane is going 78mph, the lane to their right has other cars going 70-75mph, a person trying to make up time approaches from behind,,. So the person going 78 is to now cut in font of the traffic to the right? Sounds like a win for fine collectors. How about we just do away completely with speed limits in the left lane? Too bad if you need in the left lane to make it to another interstate,.. lawmakers always thinking of more ways to get money/fines....
R T March 02, 2014 at 08:48 PM
If you aren't a police officer you can't enforce the law. Shut up and get out of the way. For the guy who pointed out 747s to me, how fast is the 747 going? Speed does not kill. Stupid kills.
Daniel Davis March 03, 2014 at 11:02 AM
RT I thought about that afterward. As a fellow pilot I understand where you are coming from. ATC is "supposed" to provide separation for aircraft under IFR, but that is not always a 100% guarantee. Then it is supposed to be up to the Pilot in Command to maintain separation. Cruise for the 747 at FL 35 is .85 mach or about 567 mph. That's quite a bit of speed. You and I went through quite a bit of training to fly and had to pass various tests. Most people on the road can barely pay attention. There is so little separation between oncoming cars but you can typically count on at least an 80 mph closing speed, often many times higher. Not much room for error. Speed has nothing to do with number of wrecks but everything to do with survivability. Most wrecks occur at intersections. I was IFR inbound to RYY at 9000 and Atlanta failed to see the VFR Baron cross in front of me within 1 mile. Fortunately we were in and out of clouds so I actually saw him. No radio call from ATC though.
jim March 03, 2014 at 01:32 PM
just to clarify the law. This Bill would NOT require motorist driving the speed limit to cede left lane to people breaking the law and traveling over the speeding limit. Repeat this Bill would NOT require motorist driving the speed limit to cede the left lane to people breaking the law by speeding.
Brian March 08, 2014 at 10:09 AM
Now, what bugs me about people going in the left lane is less about my impatience, and more about cruise control. They are often not even going the speed limit. On long trips including through GA, cruise control is nice because it saves gas. But you can't safely have the cruise control on a four-lane highway if some idiots: (A) Keep blocking the left lane going 10 under and thus you can't pass them. Plus, that's dangerous, because of the whole closing speed again. (B) Do that erratic speed up/ slow-down thing where you let them by, but then you can't put your cruise control on behind them and THEY won't leave the left lane because they are passing someone far ahead. Now, for B, I hope there's some tolerance that if YOUR passing a group of cars, you don't have to pull back in if you have something like 10 car lengths between two cars in the group you are passing.
Brian March 08, 2014 at 10:13 AM
I could see cops driving 85mph and pulling up behind people temporarily in the left lane to pass a group of car, the cop getting annoyed and pulling someone over when they are following the law. I guess this part of the law covers passing a group of cars, because that's congestion, but it's a bit ambiguous. They should have given a number of car lengths of available right lane in which you have to pull back in: (d) Subsection (c) of this Code section shall not apply: 33 (1) When traffic conditions or congestion ma ke it necessary to drive in the passing lane
Laura Moore March 12, 2014 at 08:10 AM
I believe we are rewarding bad behavior and giving into people who have aggression issues. What about our SENIORS? Or our teenagers just getting their license. They may not be able to get over as quickly as they need to. Further more if the have to turn left they have to take the opportunity when it is available to them. I believe this is only going to cause people to become more impatient when someone is in their way. We should not be rewarding bad behavior instead we should be teaching patience. If they do pass the bill they should only make it the interstate.
HDM March 12, 2014 at 02:17 PM
Drive on the right, pass on the left. Period.
jim March 12, 2014 at 02:22 PM
nice law. no police officer could pull anyone over for it. SO you are saying if you are going the speed limit and people are trying to pass you over the speed limit , that the police would pull you over instead of the speed drivers ??? I guess you can go as slow as you want really still on the left lane as long as you are passing someone slower on the right lane ?

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