Archive for January 25th, 2017|Daily archive page

New bill targets left lane hogs

Rep. Robert Kosowski, D-Westland, introduced House Bill 4062 last week that would make it a civil infraction to stay in the left lane of a freeway with two or more lanes going on the same direction if a vehicle is trying to pass.

If you stay in the left lane while other vehicles are trying to pass, a new bill in the Michigan House of Representatives could cause some headaches.

Rep. Robert Kosowski, D-Westland, introduced House Bill 4062 last week that would make it a civil infraction to stay in the left lane of a freeway with two or more lanes going on the same direction if a vehicle is trying to pass.

“People going 65, 68 miles an hour in the passing lane – it can cause problems,” Kosowski said. “Drivers want to get around. And then there’s the whole issue of road rage.”

Kosowski adds that Michigan already has statutes against hogging the left lane, but it’s somewhat confusing. “It’s in seven different areas of traffic law,” he said. “This bill clears it up.”

States such as Georgia, Florida, Indiana, New Jersey and Tennessee have passed laws setting harsher penalties for left lane cruisers in recent years. Fines elsewhere range from $50 to $500.

Under Michigan’s legislation, emergency vehicles and road maintenance trucks would be exempt. Other exceptions are for lousy weather and road work. Slower cars would still be able to use the left lane in order to exit or turn left.

Michigan State Police have been attempting to encourage those who drive in the left lane frequently to move over for several years, with some stretches of highway even showcasing road signs.

On roads with two or more lanes in one direction, vehicles “shall be driven in the extreme right-hand lane,” according to the existing law, MCL 257-634. If all lanes are occupied “in substantially continuous lanes of traffic,” all lanes are fair game, according to the statute.

However, the existing law also states, “On a freeway having three or more lanes, a driver may use any lane lawfully available.”

Rep. Kosowski feels the law is confusing, and wanted to clear it up.

“We’ve met with Michigan State Police and have gotten positive feedback,” he said.

The state police in 2014 handed out 2,070 tickets for left lane violations, Kosowski said. Between Jan. 1, 2015, and May 31, 2015, the agency issued 763 tickets for the offense, he said.

Educating drivers, Kosowski said, is crucial. Often times, left lane violators say they did not know the lane is intended for passing, he said.

“This is not about writing more tickets,” Kosowski said. “The problem is there is not enough information getting through to drivers – it’s not ingrained in us.”

Kosowski’s bill comes on the heels of a new state law bumping speed limits from 70 mph to 75 on some 600 miles of rural freeways.

Read more at: http://www.hollandsentinel.com/news/20170123/new-bill-targets-left-lane-hogs