House passes ‘Anti-Road Rage’ bill

House approves fines for left-lane lingering drivers

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The amount of time you are allowed spend in the left lane on the interstate could change.

The House passed a bill 61-24 making it illegal to drive in the left lane on an interstate for 1.5 miles under certain circumstances. Sponsor of the bill Rep. Phillip Pettus, R-Killen, said violating the law results in a misdemeanor and said the goal is to help cut down on road rage.

“People get ill when they come up behind people driving in the left lane,” said Pettus. "Interstates were set up for the movement of traffic. This will make interstate traffic move better.”

There was some pushback to the bill. Lawmakers question whether law enforcement had the time, energy and resources to track this.

“No state trooper is going to ride around to try and see if they’re following somebody for one-and-a-half miles," said Democratic Rep. Juandalynn Givan.

There would be exceptions to the lane rule.

  • When traffic conditions or congestion make it necessary to operate a vehicle in the leftmost lane.
  • When inclement weather, obstructions, or hazards make it necessary to operate a vehicle in the leftmost lane.
  • When compliance with a law, rule, ordinance, or traffic control device makes it necessary to operate a vehicle in the leftmost lane.
  • When exiting a roadway to the left.
  • When paying a toll or user fee at a toll 18 collection facility.
  • If the vehicle is an authorized emergency vehicle operated in the course of duty.
  • If the vehicle is operated or used in the course of highway maintenance or construction or is traveling through a construction zone.

The bill also includes a “grace period” of 60 days following the effective day of the Act. During that time, a law enforcement officer may only issue a warning citation.

Pettus said the Alabama Department of Transportation ensured him they would put up signs warning people about the new road rule. The bill does not require ALDOT to do this.

“The Department of Transportation said they would put up signs and put out PSAs advising the drivers of this,” he said.

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

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