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Georgia Bill Regulating “Passing Lane” Etiquette – Awaiting Governor’s Signature

For most drivers on Georgia’s local highways, it is common knowledge that the left lane is considered the “passing lane.”  This means that the left lane should be used mainly for passing other cars in the middle or right lane.  Even if the driver in the left lane is operating their vehicle at the speed limit, he or she should still move over to the right, presumably to pass someone on their right.  Of course, this kind of passing lane etiquette is often ignored, which can annoy and anger other drivers on the road. Driving in this manner can lead to road rage incidences and worse, preventable car accidents.  If you have been injured in a car crash with a negligent driver, it is critical that you contact an experienced injury attorney in the Atlanta area.

Fortunately, legislators from the state of Georgia are currently working to rectify the problems associated with ignoring the generally understood passing lane etiquette. According to an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Representative Bill Hitchens introduced House Bill 459, which would make it illegal for a person to drive in the left lane, unless they are passing or overtaking another vehicle on the road. Under the bill, it would be a misdemeanor for someone to drive in the left lane if another car approaches from behind, going faster.

Among other purposes, the Bill was created to foster “lane discipline” and to educate drivers about the need to move out of the way in the left lane.  Under H.R. 459, it would be illegal to drive in the left lane, unless one of the following circumstances exists: 1) a vehicle is passing another vehicle, 2) no other vehicle is directly behind the one in the left lane, 3) when traffic renders it impractical to drive in the right lane, 4) when weather conditions make it necessary to drive in the left lane, 5) when hazards or obstructions exist in the right lane, 6) when a vehicle changes lanes to comply with other laws, 7) when exiting to the left, 8) the need to go through a toll, or 9) when driving in the left lane in order to comply with traffic control.

At this point, both the House and Senate have approved the bill.  According to news reports, the bill is awaiting Governor Nathan Deal’s signature in order to become law.  As they approved the bill, Senators wanted to ensure the public that they are not trying to encourage speeding by approving the measure. Reports suggest that the bill would not apply to paramedics, police, firefighters, other emergency vehicles or to construction traffic and highway maintenance. The new bill plainly states that one of its intentions is to eliminate driving practices that serve to impede traffic flow.  It is hoped that such measures will reduce the number of traffic accidents on Georgia highways.

All in all, while enforcement may not be so simple and violators may be difficult to detect, the primary purpose of the bill is to increase driver safety.  This is an important goal, considering the number of accidents on state roads and highways that cause serious injuries to innocent drivers and their passengers.

If you have been injured in a car accident due to another’s negligence, you may be entitled to a recovery for your suffering and losses.  The first thing you should do after seeking medical treatment and contacting law enforcement is to contact an experienced Atlanta injury attorney as soon as possible. Stephen M. Ozcomert has over 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases, representing individuals who have been injured as a result of another’s negligent driving in Atlanta and throughout Georgia. Call us today at (404)-370-1000 to schedule your free initial consultation, or you can reach us through our website.

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