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Legislator Says Speed Up Or ElseOne 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 slower-moving vehicle.

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.

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