Proposed law would ban left-lane interstate driving

Left lane law

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Driving in the left, or passing lane, of an interstate highway could become a ticketable offense in New York state.

State Sen. Joe Griffo recently introduced a bill aimed at people coasting in the passing lane.

It's called the Failure to Pass Act.

It would make it against the law to drive in the left lane of an interstate highway without intending to pass another driver.

Griffo says the practice can be more than just frustrating.

"When you have people passing where they shouldn't pass, on the right, when you have people beginning to tailgate because they get upset -- these are all problematic to potential danger," Griffo said.

Griffo says the penalties aren't severe.

The first offense would be a $50 fine. It would jump to $100 for every offense after.

No points will be added to the license of the person pulled over.

Griffo sees the law as a way to teach state drivers a safer way to drive.

"That's what we're trying to do here, is to re-educate people, and to change behavior," he said

Some drivers see eye to eye with Griffo.

"People who drive under the limit or coast in the left-hand lane may think they're driving safely, but they're creating an obstacle that's dangerous for other drivers," Dr. Robert Bacsik said.

Others feel there's good reason to use the left lane for something other than passing.

"I think the majority of drivers do stay out of the left lane unless they're passing," Nate Smith said, "but there are certain circumstances to stay in the left lane because it's safer, maybe not to follow the car in front of you as closely as we'd be forced to if we had to stay out of the left lane."

Other drivers we spoke to say New York state has enough laws on the books already and there's no need for one so specific as coasting in the left lane.

Bacsik says the rules of the road are simple.

"Keep right, pass left," he said. "And that's what it should be. "

And it could be law as early as next year, but there are still some steps to take before that would happen.

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