Drive slow in the left lane? Md. considering a crackdown

WASHINGTON — It’s a lesson you’re taught all the way back in driver’s education: slower traffic keeps right so you can pass in the left lane.

In this area, people sometimes slow traffic down in the left lane, anyway, creating a convoy of agitated highway users who can’t get around because too many other cars are passing them on the right already.

But should failure to abide by those lessons, learned along ago by some drivers, result in a ticket?

According to one Maryland lawmaker, the answer is yes.

So far, the bill introduced by Frederick County Del. William Folden has cleared the Maryland House of Delegates, and now awaits a vote in the Senate.

If passed, it would only affect numbered highways with at least three lanes going in the same direction, and a speed limit of at least 55 mph. That would include the beltway, Route 50, and Interstate 270.

But it would not apply during rush hour or any other time traffic is bottling up, or if that driver was about to turn or exit from the left lane.

Folden tells The Washington Post it’s about easing up some of the bottlenecks that occur on the roads when one person stifles the flow of traffic around them.

He also argues it would reduce incidents of road rage and aggressive driving, since fewer drivers would be weaving in and out of other lanes so they could pass on the right.

But one motorist WTOP spoke with said the new law might backfire, since people tend to slow down noticeably anytime they pass someone pulled over by a police officer.

The Washington Post also cited critics who argued the bill might do more to encourage speeding at a time when speed is blamed for a significant number of fatal crashes.

There was concern that it would absolve a driver for acting aggressive behind the wheel.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2021 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up