One lawmaker in Washington is fed up with the "
obnoxious, inconsiderate and dangerous behavior" he sees on the state's roads and highways. California already
has a law addressing this kind of conduct, but it's almost never enforced
in Kern County or anywhere else.
State Senator Michael Baumgartner, a Republican from Spokane, recently
introduced Senate Bill 6105, which creates a new category of offense with
the rather sinister title of "aggravated left lane driving."
The fine would start at $124 and increase as the offending motorists go
slower. Washington State Police panned the new bill, claiming that they
pulled over 14,000 drivers for violating the existing slowpoke law.
Although Senator Baumgartner is determined to take a stand against left-lane
drivers that impede traffic, he admitted that his bill had little chance
of passing (no pun intended there).
Considering the harm it is supposed to prevent,
VC 21654(a) is one of the weakest laws in the Vehicle Code, in terms of its structure
and its enforcement.
According to this law, "any vehicle proceeding upon a highway at a
speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction
at such time shall be driven in the right-hand lane." Exceptions
apply if the motorist is turning or is in the left lane to pass an even
The law is subjective and open to interpretation. Speed limits, on the
other hand, are objective. You were speeding or you weren't. Although
there may be a legal defense, such as an improperly-calibrated device
or an improperly-trained operator, it is almost impossible to argue your
way out of a speeding ticket.
Speed variance is much more dangerous than gross speed. But since speeding tickets are
easy to prove in court, CHP officers hovering around Visalia and Porterville
will continue to write them.