States cracking down on Left Lane Slowpokes

Discussion in 'The OT' started by Herdfan, May 1, 2014.

  1. Herdfan

    Herdfan Well-Known Member

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    Teays...
    Lesser of two evils? One driver doing 5-7 over the speed limit is less of a safety issue that someone planted in the left lane forcing traffic to go around them on the right.
     
  2. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    But... how is that traffic "forced" to go around on the right when IF they too were obeying the posted speed limit then there would be no need to pass? And if we are only talking about "one driver" then there is no obstruction of the "flow" is there?

    I was out tonight, for example. Road had a 55mph posted limit. Cars in the right lane seemed to be going 50mph... so I was in the left lane going 65mph and a car was in front of me. I was not gaining on the car in front of me and I was a few car-lengths back for general safety. So... up from behind comes a car pretty fast. My getting over to the right wouldn't have accomplished anything so I stayed as I was since I and the car in front of me were 10mph above the limit and were passing slower traffic already in the right lane.

    So... were I and the car in front of me "obstructing" the flow because someone else was wanting to do 75mph on the road that we were already doing 65 in a 55?
     
  3. trh

    trh This Space for Sale

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    I think Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible 3 answered that question when asked what he did at DOT:

     
  4. Laxguy

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

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    Not all of us are focussing on that scenario. While in some cases a left-laner going the speed limit might get cited for obstructing traffic, that'd be a rarity. The major issue for some of us was the concept expressed by a couple of genterlmen that it was ok to stay in the left lane indefinitely if one were going the speed limit. Which now no one seems to think is o.k., and it appears to be in conflict with the laws of many states. Certainly flies in the face of safe driving.
     
  5. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Passing is passing. This is a multi-lane in the same direction road - there is no time or distance limit on passing. One should not be FORCED by the yokel or an incompetent police officer to drive faster than the posted speed limit to complete the pass quicker or be FORCED to drive slower to fall in behind slower traffic so the yokel can do whatever speed they want.

    It seems to be a huge crime to FORCE the yokel to drive the posted speed limit or FORCE them to pass on the right (which isn't possible in the "passing slowly" scenario if all lanes are blocked).

    I do not understand why people can defend yokel rights. It seems like we keep coming back to giving the right of way to the biggest idiots on the road. Is that really the policy people want to support? Sad.


    How many lanes and how much traffic? Two lanes in each direction with a lot of merging and departing traffic and the constant lane changes to be in the right lane except when passing a car slowing or merging would be unsafe. Constant lane changes are unsafe ... whether it is the yokel who is playing slalom with other people's lives or the safe driver that you seem to want to force to change lanes every couple of miles. Gotta pack that right lane full of cars. :rolleyes:

    Two lanes of traffic traveling at roughly the same speed with a safe following distance between every vehicle is much safer than packing the right lane, potentially creating unsafe following distances (or reducing the capacity of the highway) and snakelike shifts around merging traffic. Designers put additional lanes on highways to increase capacities and improve safety. Not to provide a yokel lane.
     
  6. Herdfan

    Herdfan Well-Known Member

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    Teays...
    Today I had to travel on about 35 miles of U.S. 35 from I-64 to Point Pleasant WV to pick up a shipment being held at the R&L Carriers depot. For anyone who hasn't traveled this section of highway, it is 10 miles of 4 lane, then 15 miles of 2 lane and then another 10 miles of 4 lane. The road is in area of small hills that go up and down. I had just made my pickup and was about 6 miles in the first section of 4 lane and from the top of one hill, you can easily see across to top of the other hill. When I crested one hill, just started up the other side was a mess of 3 semis in the right lane and several cars passing them on the left. My first though was "can I catch and get past them before the 2 lane as I hate being behind a truck on that section. So I pressed on the pedal and was soon in the upper 70's in a 65 mile zone. Then my radar detector went off. Crap. I State Trooper had just crested the other hill. I hit the brakes and hoped. He went past me on the other side and then I saw him turn around and come back my way. Damn! Busted. I tried to act like nothing was up and pulled out and passed another semi going slow up the hill. I pulled back into the right lane and watched the trooper coming up the left lane at a pretty good rate of speed.

    He seemed to be going too fast for me and sure enough he passed the semi I had just passed and did not pull in behind me. Ok, not busted. But the second though that entered my mind was that there was a wreck on the 2-lane section and I he was heading towards it. That would have sucked as when the wrecks happen on that stretch, they are not usually minor and can shut the road down for hours. Otherwise, it takes about and hour and a half to use other back roads. So he blows on by and is soon approaching the original 3 semis and cars. I thought there was no way they were speeding as they were all in one big pack.

    The trucks were spread apart enough that the cars could duck in between them as the trooper approached. At this point, he still did not have his lights on. All the cars moved over except one. The car that was leading the pack. I was now back in the left lane ready to get past them all before the 2 lane started. The trooper patiently followed this car for about a half a mile (I say car, but it was a small SUV with a turtle on top) and then the lights came on. Nothing. No movement on the part of this SUV. The trooper followed them for a bit then moved his car over to the berm so hopefully they could see. The finally pulled into the right lane. I expected the trooper to go on past to the inevitable wreck. But no, he pulled in behind them and when they pulled off the road, he followed them.

    I know there was no way they were speeding. I could tell from where I was that they were not passing the truck beside them and it was pulling a hill. But they were holding up 3 other cars. So the only thing i can think of is that they were pulled over for blocking the flow of traffic. I can only hope. :)
     
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  7. The Merg

    The Merg 1*

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    I realize that I am a bit late to the party here, but here's my 2 cents...

    The sign of Through Traffic Stay Left is telling people to move left, but for the purpose of allowing others that want to exit. It is expected that those exiting will be slowing down, so in order to avoid having fast moving cars come up quickly on cars slowing to exit, they are told to stay left.

    With regard to giving a ticket to someone that is driving the speed limit in the left lane, it is very justifiable. Many states of a Keep Right, Pass Left provision. If you are in the left lane, you must be using it to pass other cars. If you are not passing anyone, you are failing to obey a highway sign and can be ticketed. Also, while you might be driving the speed limit, every car can be a little off in exactly how fast you are actually driving. So, while your speedometer reads 65 MPH, you could actually be going 60 MPH. You then have someone behind you that is actually going 65 MPH. There is also the idea that while speeding is a traffic violation, it does not become criminal until you are driving recklessly. As such, driving 70 MPH in a 65 MPH speed zone is not considered by manyto be a big issue.

    Just the other day, I was driving on the Interstate and got stuck behind a vehicle driving 52 MPH in a 55 MPH speed zone in the left lane. The other three lanes to the right were all passing us. I flicked my headlights multiple times to advise the driver to move over to no avail (in VA there is a code section that states that vehicles must yield the right-of-way to overtaking vehicles upon an audible or visual signal). I eventually had to pass the vehicle on the right, which is something I try to avoid.

    - Merg
     
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  8. The Merg

    The Merg 1*

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    That ticket can be written, has been written, and has been successful in court. While I somewhat understand your argument of comparing this to a robbery or a murder, there is a big difference. As I mentioned in my last post, speeding is not a criminal violation. It is a traffic infraction. It only becomes criminal when it is considered reckless (and there are specific things that make it reckless, such as driving 20 MPH over the speed limit here in VA). While it would be great to ticket every driver that drives over the speed limit, it is just not possible. Officers have to pick and choose who to write tickets to. So, a car can go by at 10 MPH over and the officer might let that go hoping that a car going 25 MPH might be coming soon. With regard to why would you give a ticket to someone going the speed limit, while the person driving over the speed limit might be creating a bit of extra risk on the road, the person driving the speed limit in the left lane could actually be creating a greater risk of an accident on the road. Since they are impeding traffic, traffic then tries to move around the slower driver. These weaving manuevers create additional chances to accidents to occur, especially if it causes passing on the right, which is one of the most dangerous places to pass a vehicle.

    With regard to someone challenging the ticket, the officer just needs to testify that they observed the vehicle in the left lane and that cars were backed up behind that vehicle and that there was no one in front of the vehicle. Articulating how they observed these backed up cars needing to move to the right to pass the slow vehicle in the left lane or how the car was given audible or visual indicators to move over and did not is enough for court.

    - Merg
     
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  9. oldengineer

    oldengineer Godfather

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    I may be mistaken but I think that for a time it was illegal to pass slower traffic on the right on multilane hiways in some states. I seem to remember seeing signs to that effect in Connecticut in the 70s.
     
  10. Laxguy

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

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    Yes, in some places it was.
    If that were now true where I live, there'd be cause for thousands more tickets an hour....
     
  11. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    Great posts! Finally, from someone who actually knows the laws.

    Rich
     
  12. The Merg

    The Merg 1*

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    Still around...

    ▼ Title 46.2 - Motor Vehicles
    ▿ Chapter 8 - Regulation Of Traffic

    § 46.2-841 - When Overtaking Vehicle May Pass On Right.
    The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass to the right of another vehicle only:When the overtaken vehicle is making or about to make a left turn, and its driver has given the required signal;On a highway with unobstructed pavement, not occupied by parked vehicles, of sufficient width for two or more lines of moving vehicles in each direction;On a one-way street or on any one-way roadway when the roadway is free from obstructions and of sufficient width for two or more lines of moving vehicles.The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass another vehicle on the right only under conditions permitting such movement in safety. Except where driving on paved shoulders is permitted by lawfully placed signs, no such movement shall be made by driving on the shoulder of the highway or off the pavement or main traveled portion of the roadway.
    Code 1950, § 46-226; 1952, c. 666; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-210; 1985, c. 481; 1989, c. 727.


    By Code of Virginia




    - Merg

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  13. The Merg

    The Merg 1*

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    To an extent, at least...


    - Merg

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  14. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    And then there's my experience yesterday.

    Driving on a two-lane road, 55 mph posted speed limit. Traffic in the right lane seemed to actually be going 50mph so I was in the left lane going 60mph. In front of me I had a 2-3 car-length gap (which is always a safe thing to do when you can do it) and then there were two cars after that gap. I couldn't go faster than 60mph if I wanted, because doing so would gain me and put me in a tailgating position on the cars in front of me.

    So... I had a truck come up fast behind me and tailgated me for a while. There was no option for me... I couldn't go in the slower lane that was going slower than I was... and I couldn't go faster because cars in front of me were not.

    Eventually I got a chance to speed up to 65mph when the cars in front of me turned away... and the truck behind me seemed to be fine with that and was no longer tailgating me... but as I looked in the rearview mirror I saw he now had a truck tailgating him at the new 65mph speed... and that truck eventually whizzed by us both, going at least 75mph.

    Which leads me back to my "where does it end?" question... If the posted speed limit has no meaning, let us save the money on those signs and take it away. I would be fine with that. If there was no speed law, then you could always enforce the "slower traffic stay right" rule because it would always hold up... no speed limit means no speed limit, everyone make way for the faster traffic to pass. I am and always have been ok with that.

    But we have speed limit laws... and spend a lot of money putting up traffic signs and investing in radar guns for the police and training for the police to estimate speeders without that radar gun... And yes, all speeders can't be caught... all of anything can't be caught... that's not what I'm saying.

    What I'm saying is... you can't ticket a guy for going 65 in a 65mph zone because a guy behind him wanted to go 75mph and you were impeding him. It makes no sense. You can ticket him for going 60mph and impeding traffic in the left lane... and you can ticket the guy going 75mph for speeding... but you can't ticket the guy obeying the posted speed limit for not making it easier for someone else to break the speed limit. Any good lawyer would get that ticket thrown out in court.

    Ticket speeders or don't... ticket people going below the speed limit or don't... but don't ticket people obeying the law for obstructing people who want to break it. That makes no sense to me on any level.
     
  15. Laxguy

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

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    No one is going to ticket you if you are trapped in a lane and can't get right to let those speeders by. But if you essentially provide a blockade of the road by traveling at the same speed as the person on the right, you can be ticketed.

    I've only heard the hypotheticals about being ticketed for going the speed limit in the fast lane- but one should still be to the right if that lane is open.
     
  16. The Merg

    The Merg 1*

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    Exactly!

    - Merg
     
  17. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    And if one of those cars ahead of you would have slammed on his brakes, you'd understand why we were all taught to maintain a one car length distance for every 10 miles of speed. I know it's hard to do that at times, but I do try, as should we all.

    Rich
     
  18. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Perhaps you live in a state with such a law. Where I live the signs inform drivers of the law. One is ticketed for failing to obey the law, not failing to obey a sign. When one gets a ticket the officer writes the section of code that applies on the ticket (or it is printed on the ticket, if printed tickets are used). One does not get ticketed for disobeying a sign ... they get ticketed for disobeying a law.

    If there is a law that says what to do when one sees the sign (for example, a law stating one must not violate the posted speed limit - or a law that tells you what to do at a Stop or Yield sign) one still follows the law, not the sign.

    A sign that says "keep right except to pass" is a reminder that there is a law. One would have to read the law to discover exactly what that means. Follow the law ... not the signs.
     
  19. The Merg

    The Merg 1*

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    I think you misunderstood me. Many jurisdictions have a law that states that you must obey highway signs as posted. So, you can be ticketed for not following the sign.

    ▼ Title 46.2 - Motor Vehicles
    ▿ Chapter 8 - Regulation Of Traffic

    § 46.2-830 - Uniform Marking And Signing Of Highways; Drivers To Obey Signs; Enforcement Of Section.
    The Commonwealth Transportation Board may classify, designate, and mark state highways and provide a uniform system of marking and signing such highways under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth. Such system of marking and signing shall correlate with and, so far as possible, conform to the system adopted in other states. All drivers of vehicles shall obey lawfully erected signs. No provision of this section relating to the prohibition of disobeying signs or violating local traffic signals, markings, and lights shall be enforced against an alleged violator if, at the time and place of the alleged violation, any such sign, signal, marking, or light is not in proper position and sufficiently legible to be seen by an ordinarily observant person.
    Code 1950, § 46-184; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-173; 1970, c. 163; 1976, c. 184; 1979, c. 604; 1981, c. 585; 1989, c. 727; 1994, c. 280; 1997, c. 881.


    By Code of Virginia

    - Merg

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  20. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    No, I understand you. You just live in a state with such a law. One could argue whether or not the sign was "lawfully erected" if there was no law supporting the sign. The highway department cannot put up a legally binding sign unless there is a law supporting what is on the sign.

    Do people get tickets in Virgina for violating § 46.2-830 of the laws of the commonwealth, or are they ticketed for the underlying law that they violated?
     

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