Some rural lawmakers, including the House Speaker, designed a new revenue bill (HB2312) to collect fines from motorists who dare to use the left lane in ways that rural politicians couldn't imagine.
Some of the scenarios will present great frustration for drivers, and perhaps some unwarranted traffic citations. Several drivers will never truly see justice when some of those citations are imposed upon them. Expect to pay more than $200 any time you get cited.
Anyone who has attempted to contest a traffic citation have seen the way the game is really played. Often judges will slow-walk a case, causing far more time and resources to be wasted in the effort to defend an action. First you have the initial court date. It's nothing but a paper-shuffle and you are given a 2nd conference date when you plead not guilty. It may take you at least 3 days off work to sit around a courtroom awaiting your opportunity to present your case. If you have witnesses, they are also inconvenienced. Then you get to watch judges letting other lawyers cut in line. They always get to go first, when they are sitting in the special seats reserved just for them
But back to our issues with this bill. It leaves way too much vague terminology that will not mean the same thing to drivers as they might to peace officers.
Here's the text of HB2312:
First of all, one good reform in this law is that it no longer limits people to the "Right Lane". It simply prohibits how they use the left lane. That's important to metropolitan drivers who use a roadway where there may be 4 or 5 lanes going the same direction.
But the new language should have only applied to state or interstate highways NOT within city limits. Rural stretches of roadway are where 90+% percent of the problem exists.
As it is written, this law now applies to city streets where left turns are happening all the time. The amended language should have added the clause "or making a left turn".
Now, traffic conditions bring to mind many possibilities but we usually thing of 'bumper-to-bumper' backups. But what about when the road is buried under a foot of snow? We only guess where the lines are.
'Flow' is even more vague. it could mean 'whatever gets the motorists to where they are going'. But you have to hope that the peace officer agrees with you.
'Road configuration' is even more vague. We hope it refers to the 3 illustrated examples I posted, but we could be wrong.
This bill had a possible good intention. But it could also have been just an effort to raise revenue without a vote of the people. We had a good law on the books and we should have left it pretty much the way it was and enforce it sensibly.