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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Driving too slow in the fast lane could get more expensive

OLYMPIA – Driving too slow in the fast lane could get more expensive in Washington.

A proposal would impose penalties for “aggravated left-lane driving” – what some people might call aggravating left-lane driving – with new fines to dawdling drivers based on how slow they are going.

Senate Bill 6105 contends that driving slow in the left or passing lane of a multi-lane road “can create safety hazards” and “can cause other drivers to brake unexpectedly or create a long line of frustrated drivers.”

The state already has a traffic law against driving too slowly and blocking traffic in the passing lane; a ticket for that comes with a $136 fine.  Melissa Van Gorkom, legislative analyst for the Washington State Patrol said troopers made about 14,000 stops for that last year.

The proposed law would up add another fine for continuously driving at slow speeds, based on how far below the speed limit they are traveling. Between 1 and 5 mph, the extra fine would be $27. That would go up to $37 for 6 to 10 mph below the maximum speed limit; $52 for 11 to 15 mph and $67 for 16 to 20 mph.

But the patrol has some concerns about the proposal. As written, it may be difficult for troopers to determine someone is driving “continuously” too slow, she told the Senate Transportation Committee.

The committee could vote on whether to send the proposal to the full Senate in the coming weeks.

Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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