Virginia law targets slow left lane drivers

Published: Apr. 11, 2018 at 5:20 PM EDT
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Police in Virginia started enforcing a

last summer meant to help speed up traffic and make the roads safer.

The law prohibits people from driving below the speed limit in the left lane, or from being in the left lane if you are not passing another car or turning left.

Since it took effect on July 1, 2017, more than 16,000 people

across Virginia by April 3, 2018.

Sergeant Brian Breeden, with Virginia State Police, says the law is meant to keep traffic from backing up, but also to make roads safer, especially for emergency vehicles driving in the left lane. People from around the Shenandoah Valley had mixed feelings about the law and slow left lane drivers.

"That's often me, because I will get out of the righthand lane when there's a merge to make room for other vehicles and then I can't get back over, let the other people who want to go a little bit faster go. Otherwise, you're blocking the two lanes, and the frustration, it is real" said Caleb Routhier, from Luray.

"Oh my God, I just had to suffer this for the last 12 hours. It's horrible. Do us a favor, pass, get out of the way," expressed Rene Miller, from Harrisonburg.

"Some fool comes behind me and gets right on my bumper, I might just stay there. And that's not a good thing. That's the beginning of road rage, right?" asked Jerry Duncan, from Massanutten.

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.

The penalty for violating the law is a $100 fine.