While House Bill 2181, which would have increased the state’s maximum speed limit from 70 to 75 miles per hour, was partially vetoed by Gov. Jay Inslee this week, Senate Bill 6105 may give hope to drivers stuck behind that slow left-lane driver.
While some reading this will decry the attempt saying ‘the speed limit on a road is the maximum’ SB 6105, which comes with penalties between $27 and $67 for left-lane driving, is a very good idea.
RCW 46.61.100 is a regulation for roadways and when it is legal to use the left most lane on roads with more than two lanes in one direction – in essence the new law would merely give added weight to the left lane camping laws already on the books.
“Upon all roadways of sufficient width a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway,” the RCW states.
The conditions for using the left lane include overtaking or passing another vehicle traveling in the same direction, passing an obstruction, one-way restrictions and other common sense business.
“Upon all roadways having two or more lanes for traffic moving in the same direction,” section 2 of RCW 46.61.100 states. “All vehicles shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, except (a) when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, (b) when traveling at a speed greater than the traffic flow, (c) when moving left to allow traffic to merge, or (d) when preparing for a left turn at an intersection, exit, or into a private road or driveway when such left turn is legally permitted.”
It is already a traffic infraction to left-lane camp, when it impedes the flow of traffic – we’re looking at you left-lane campers – but, remember, when passing it’s ok to stay in the left-lane continuously.
Seattleites are all too familiar with the rolling roadblock that is created when drivers camp in the left lane, assuming of course that there isn’t other traffic issues creating the mess.
When there is no other way around, humans do irrational, and sometimes illegal, things. When a person is left-lane camping, other drivers may attempt to pass on the right or tailgate, possibly causing instances or road rage.
The language of 6105 even states that ‘creating a new offense of aggravated left lane driving to address obnoxious, inconsiderate and dangerous behavior’ is the goal of the bill and proposed fines.
Whether the law will help in-city driving is another matter. I, personally, doubt that the creation of aggravated left lane driving will impact those driving along packed highways due to morning or evening traffic, it will probably help traffic at non-peak times.
Of course, if the law goes unenforced by the law enforcers across the state, then it’s not going to effect traffic.