Should we punish drivers who dawdle in the left lane (US)?


Keeping the left lane open may also cut down on swerving and tailgating, which are common reactions by frustrated drivers stuck behind a slow driver. 
Jeff Guo, Washington Post

To develop a keen sense of misanthropy, nothing works better than driving on the highway.

Why do people think they are Muhammad Ali, bobbing and weaving through traffic as if it were a boxing ring?

And why, at these unthinkably violent velocities, are people typing on their phones? Why are they Snapchatting? Is there an emoji for reckless endangerment?

A final annoyance: Why do people clog up the left lane? Drive on the right, pass on the left — didn’t we all learn this in driving school?

David Ober had plenty of time to ponder this particular first-world frustration during one of his regular trips down to Indianapolis in January — when, yet again, found himself stuck behind someone dilly-dallying in the left lane.

“He was going way under the speed limit,” Ober recalls. “And he would not move over even though he was clearly able to move over.”

So Ober, who is an Indiana state representative, decided a legislative fix was in order. In May, Gov. Mike Pence signed into law Ober’s new measure, which imposes a harsh penalty on left-lane slowpokes.

When the law takes effect in July, all cars traveling in the left lane will have to yield to faster traffic coming from behind. It doesn’t matter what speed you’re going. If you don’t move to the right, that’s a $500 fine.

Most states already prohibit driving too slowly in the left lane.  You have to be doing the speed limit, or keeping up with traffic.

But Indiana now joins a dozen or so states that take lane discipline more seriously. Some of these states reserve the left lane for passing cars only. Others, like Indiana, require cars traveling in the left lane to move aside for faster traffic. Even drivers exceeding the speed limit can get pulled over for violating these laws.

One obvious consequence is that these laws prevent that frustrating situation in which a couple cars running abreast of each other can clog up an entire highway.

Proponents say these laws prevent road rage and promote safety.

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