State Rep. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth (Florida), has filed House Bill 177, requiring drivers to move to the right on highways when blocking traffic from behind. The bill proposes that drivers will receive a moving violation for incessantly driving in the left lane blocking traffic.
We Americans are an odd lot.
We’re famously bullish on law and order. A nation of rules and regulations, burglar bars, locks, jails, alarms, guns—all manner of things designed for enforcement and protection.
But with all that emphasis on law and order, we’re curiously choosy about the laws we obey and the ones we don’t.
Basically, we obey the ones we like, and only when it’s convenient.
This plays out daily on the road. Every time I drive, I can count on at least one instance of waiting at a newly green light while several cars zoom past or turn in front of me as they ignore the light that, for them, turned red several beats ago. It gets to the point where I think: green is for go, right? (Or is it red for go?)
And then there are the highways. Growing up in the north, I remember signs on NYS highways telling faster (passing) traffic to keep to the left. I haven’t seen such signs in Florida, but you’d never know they’re not there. Especially on I-4 (whose ‘I’ stands for insane, not interstate). On I-4, the left lane is the alpha prick lane.
In optimal highway traffic conditions, I typically drive 10 to 15 mph over the speed limit. But you’d think I was creeping along at 35 the way these immortal entitleds bully past me. Coming up from behind ’til they’re so close I can’t see their headlights in my rearview mirror, blinking their distance lights at me like they’re rock stars on the Autobahn. In a three-or-more lane highway, this behavior is not only obnoxious and dangerous, it’s unnecessary. If I’m going too slow for your over-caffeinated ass, pass me on the right and get over yourself.
The “faster traffic on the left” that those non-existent signs are referring to means at or close to the speed limit. No, the speed limit is NOT the starting speed and no, Uncle Sam is not giving you carte blanche to break the sound barrier as long as you do it in the left lane. If you’re going over the speed limit by one mile or fifty, you are speeding.
Rep. Clemens’ well meaning effort completely misses the point. I don’t know what highways he drives on, but I never see people driving under the speed limit on the ones I travel. Quite the opposite: they drive as if the speed limit is the minimum speed. Then act enraged by the slackers driving only 20 miles over the limit, “blocking” their way.
This bill won’t solve the problem it’s meant to solve, because that problem doesn’t exist. Now if Clemens were to come up with a bill to get alpha pricks who drive by intimidation off the roads, that would be a bill I could get behind.