New bill targets slow drivers in left lane for 'obnoxious, inconsiderate and dangerous behavior'

SEATTLE -- When drivers were asked about their pet peeves on the highways, people driving too slow in the fast lane came up again and again.

“It frustrates me, for sure,” said Dayton Jones.

“I typically drive around cars a lot,” added Ivana Cho.

“I get you’re being a cautious driver,” Lauren Marcus said. “But it’s almost as unsafe to go under the speed limit as it is to go over.”

State Senator Michael Baumgartner agrees. Last week, he introduced Senate Bill 6105 to create a new traffic offense called aggravated left lane driving. He says it’s “obnoxious, inconsiderate and dangerous behavior.”

Q13 FOX News reached out to the Washington State Patrol. Spokesperson Bob Calkins say there is already a state law prohibiting left lane driving.

“The left lane is always intended to be a passing lane. It is not one intended by the legislature to be one that people cruise in continuously,” said Calkins.

In 2014, troopers pulled over 14,000 drivers for left lane violations, but in many cases they only issued a warning.

Baumgartner’s bill calls for penalties of $124 or more, depending on how far under the speed limit drivers are going. Some say that’s a good idea.

“If you’re going to get a speeding ticket for going over the speed limit, then you should get a slow ticket for going too slow,” said Marcus.

WSP says they appreciate any efforts by lawmakers to make our roads safer, but it’s hard to prove just how dangerous slow drivers in the left lanes may be.

“We have a challenge connecting this to traffic fatalities,” said Calkins. “We’re unaware of any collisions that originated with someone passing on the right to get around a left lane camper and ultimately crashing.”

Since the current legislative session is wrapping up, Senator Baumgartner says it’s not likely his bill will move forward. But he says he will continue to push the issue, and hopefully get some drivers to think twice before they get in the left lane.