Thousands cited for slow left-lane driving under new Virginia law

Published: Apr. 9, 2018 at 10:28 AM EDT
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Thousands of people have been fined since Virginia

setting penalties for driving too slowly in the left lane of a highway.

WTOP-FM obtained data on the citations through a public records request. The

that from July 1, 2017, through April 3, more than 16,000 people were cited under various portions of the law.

The law established a $100 fine for driving too slowly in the left lane, failing to stay to the right unless passing and other related violations.

The bill's sponsor, Del. Israel O'Quinn, said driving too slowly in the left lane endangers law enforcement and spurs road rage.

Cpl. Wayne Westfall, with Harrisonburg P.D., told WHSV when the bill was passed that staying in the right lane also frees up room for first responders.

"Leaving that left hand lane open, does make it a lot easier for emergency vehicles to travel," said Cpl. Westfall. "You'll see it a lot, people kind of get caught when that siren goes off behind them and [say], 'what am I supposed to do, which way do I go?'"

Cpl. Westfall said improper use of the left lane is a primary offense, meaning drivers can be pulled over for it.