Drivers weigh in on proposed Georgia law to ticket slow drivers - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Drivers weigh in on proposed Georgia law to ticket slow drivers

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Driver Carol Crowley is in favor of the bill. Driver Carol Crowley is in favor of the bill.
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Ever been frustrated by drivers going too slow in the left lane? If so, you may be happy to know that the so-called "slow poke" bill has passed the Georgia House and Senate. Now, it only needs the Governor's signature to become law.            

The bill is a modification of an existing law designed to give police more power to do something about the drivers who do not move aside in faster moving traffic. Rep. Bill Hitchens, the author of the bill, describes the changes as a way to enforce good manners. He compares the act of staying out of the fast lane to letting faster golfers on the course play through. The way the new bill is written, even drivers who are going the speed limit in the left lane can be found guilty of this violation.

State senator Josh McKoon was in Atlanta on March 12 and confirms he is one of the legislators who voted to approve this bill. Sheriff Mike Jolley is also in favor of the bill, saying it may cut down on road rage.

"It does get a bit frustrating when you're in a hurry and you're trying to keep up a certain pace and the person ahead of you will not get over, so I can identify with what they're trying to do to keep traffic flowing. But at the same time, if there's a minimum speed and you're going above that, it doesn't really seem appropriate to get a ticket for that," says Brittany Watkins, a driver.

Under the new guidelines, driving the minimum speed will still be legal in the right lane, and several other exceptions apply too, including bad weather, heavy traffic congestion, or getting ready to exit from the left lane.

"I think it's a good law. There's too many people who ride in the fast lane who should not be there. It can cause an accident just as much as someone going fast," says driver Helen Filicky.

But in the same way it's difficult to spot a seatbelt violation at night, enforcing this law has its limitations. An officer will have to observe the driver slowing down traffic in the left lane for more than just a few seconds, which is a tough call to make for a trooper sitting on the side of the highway. Tickets are most likely to come from officers who are stuck behind the 'slow poke' themselves.

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