“Move it on Over”
July 14, 2017
Have you ever found yourself in the left lane with your cruise control on, when all of a sudden you have to hit the brakes because the car in front of you is traveling slower than the speed limit? Well you’ll be happy to hear that a new law in Virginia went into effect on July 1, 2017 (HB 2201 fully detailed here), which sets the fine for “failure to drive on the right side of highways or observe traffic lanes” at no more than $250. That’s right, a vehicle travelling slower than the normal speed of traffic in the left lane can now be fined for impeding the flow of traffic. For those unaware, the normal speed of traffic is not limited to the speed limit. In fact, “a driver going above the speed limit but slower than most traffic is still in the wrong.”1
Virginia isn’t the only state to hold fines in regards to “keep right” laws2. In fact, based on MIT data and NHTSA statistics from 2010, Virginia was one of eleven states that held limited to no law in place. However, Georgia has gone to such extremes with their “slow poke” bill, that violators can face a misdemeanor charge! Misdemeanor convictions “could cost you jail time, fines [between $300-$5,000 based on severity of the aggravated nature], community service and probation on top of a permanent criminal record.”3
Left-Lane Passing Laws: A State-By-State Map1
1“Left-Lane Passing Laws: A State-By-State Map” Matt Hardigree – Jalopnik. March 2015. http://jalopnik.com/5501615/left-lane-passing-laws-a-state-by-state-map
2“State ‘keep right’ laws” John Carr – MIT. http://www.mit.edu/~jfc/right.html
3“Misdemeanors Are Not Minor in Georgia” Ross & Pines LLC. https://www.hg.org/article.asp?id=23007
Vox, a general interest news site for the 21st century, published an article in May 2015 for “Why you shouldn’t drive slowly in the left lane.” Better yet, they even created a short video clip depicting reasons why drivers in the left lane should be more aware of the impacts of driving slower than the normal speed.
So, the next time you’re cruising along the Virginia roadways, just hum along the tune of George Thorogood’s 1978 classic, and remember to “Move it on Over”… or you just may be fined!