By Christopher Solomon
In these days of longer commutes and simmering tempers, nothing seems to set off already-testy motorists like the left-lane camper – the guy or gal who drives in the passing lane and bars faster drivers from easily passing. Web sites have cropped up to educate other drivers, or to vent. There’s a (somewhat painful) YouTube song called “Keep Right.”
Even bigwigs get frustrated. Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell, weary of having his limo slowed down by such left-lane pokies, ordered an aide to have the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission install signs a few years ago reading “Keep Right, Pass Left. It’s the Law.”
And now some states are cracking down on left-lane campers, both to keep traffic moving and to tamp down the road rage that goes from zero-to-60 faster than ever before.
That’s not just a pretext. Last year, a driver was arrested on Interstate 79 outside Pittsburgh after allegedly brandishing a semiautomatic pistol at a driver who was on his tail. You could get a ticket
Some states didn’t allow left-lane lingering but didn’t enforce the law. Now they are.
At the start of the summer, the Washington State Patrol began pulling people over for violating the state’s left-lane law, which prohibits “impeding the flow of other traffic.”
“This a real big hot-button topic for the public at large right now,” says Trooper Cliff Pratt. “We’ve had a lot of complaints” from drivers who’ve had to deal with left-lane campers.
So far authorities have been gentle with the $124 ticket; the drivers stopped were given verbal warnings.