Georgia 'slow poke' law hits highways July 1 - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Georgia 'slow poke' law hits highways July 1

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Drivers who hog the passing lane and slow traffic on Georgia highways could be facing a ticket starting Tuesday, July 1.

Georgia's new 'slow poke' law requires drivers in the left lane of a four lane highway or interstate to merge to the right lane when faster traffic approaches from behind. Several drivers stopped at Metter's I-16 interchange praised the provision.

"It seems like there would be accidents from drivers going slow in the fast lane and people trying to get around them in the wrong lane," noted Cindy Larkin of Atlanta.

"It always seems like a accident waiting to happen," added Russ Creel from Muscle Shoals. "You've got people having to slow down because they're coming up behind them."

State Representative Bill Hitchens from Effingham County wrote the bill. He told WTOC plenty of accidents come from people driving too slow on a highway.

"This is just enforcing the manners your mother should have taught you," he said.

Hitchens, the retired commander of the state's highway patrol, told WTOC the law is intended to reduce traffic congestion and even cut down on confrontations and road rage as well.

"If people are trying to go faster than you, move over and let them go. When slower drivers - even those doing the speed limit - clog up the road, it can cause conflicts," he said.

The law leaves several provisions where drivers can remain in the left lane:

 (1) When traffic conditions or congestion make it necessary to drive in the passing lane;

 (2) When inclement weather, obstructions, or hazards make it necessary to drive in the
       passing lane;
 (3) When compliance with a law of this state or with an official traffic control device
       makes it necessary to drive in the passing lane;
 (4) When a vehicle must be driven in the passing lane to exit or turn left;
 (5) On toll highways, when necessary to pay a toll or use a pass;
 (6) To authorized emergency vehicles engaged in official duties; or
 (7) To vehicles engaged in highway maintenance and construction operations.

Drivers will face a misdemeanor if they're ticketed. Local counties and courts will set their own amount for the citation.

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