ATLANTA — Slow drivers, beware: Keep out of the fast lane.
The Georgia state House this week passed a measure that would prohibit motorists from slow-driving in the fast lane, “except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation.” Exceptions could include during traffic congestion or during inclement weather.
House Bill 459, proposed by state Rep. Bill Hitchens, R-Rincon, passed by a 162-9 measure. The bill now heads to the state Senate for consideration.
“My reason for doing this is more for an educational opportunity for people who don’t understand you’re not supposed to ride 55, 60 mph in that left lane when you’ve got 15, 16, 17 people lined up behind you,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted Hitchens as saying. Hitchens previously served as the head of the Georgia State Patrol.
“Upon roads, streets, or highways with two or more lanes allowing for movement in the same direction, no person shall continue to operate a motor vehicle in the passing lane once such person knows or should reasonably know that he or she is being overtaken in such lane from the rear by a motor vehicle traveling at a higher rate of speed,” the legislation reads.
Should the Senate approve HB 459 and Gov. Nathan Deal sign the bill into law, the measure would take effect July 1. Violators could face a $1,000 penalty and up to 12 months in prison, according to Morris News Service.
Under the 2010 proposal, drivers would have faced a $75 fine for impeding traffic by remaining in the left lane. At that time, officials contended the proposal was not intended to promote speeding.