B.C. government targets left-lane hogs with new legislation

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      If you ask any driver, they'll probably say what grinds their gears the most is getting stuck behind someone in the passing lane.

      "Left-lane hogs" is what Transportation Minister Todd Stone calls them, and the issue seems to have gotten on his nerves for the last time. Now the province is teaming up with ICBC for an awareness campaign about keeping right except to pass, just like the sign says.

      "For whatever reason in British Columbia, the prevalence of people camping out in the left lane impeding traffic behind them is far too common," Stone said in an interview in Prince George on March 22. "We don't know exactly why that is; it's not like that in other provinces and U.S. States."

      Stone is moving ahead with legislative changes this session to "tighten up" language in the Motor Vehicle Act, as he puts it. The intent is to make tickets for the offence stand up in court.

      The fine for holding up traffic under the Act is $109, though Stone admitted that it is rarely enforced. Instead, his plan is to focus on driver education with an awareness campaign this summer.

      "We're going to work with our road-safety partners, like ICBC and law enforcement, on a coordinated campaign, much like we do with Counter-Attack and the Shift Into Winter campaign," Stone said. "We really want to draw awareness to the fact that if you're camped-out in that left-lane, you're actually a menace to yourself and a menace to other people; it's one of the leading causes of driver frustration."

      The changes will go through the Legislature in the next couple of months, according to Stone.

      The plan is one of the items in his $2.5 billion B.C. on the Move initiative, upgrading all forms of travel in the province.




      Mar 23, 2015 at 11:53am

      "it's one of the leading causes of driver frustration"

      Because that's more important than road safety, right? People gotta speed.


      Mar 23, 2015 at 1:11pm

      "We found a marked increase in ambulance calls for road trauma since July 2014. Although we have not proven cause and effect, this increase was most likely caused, at least in part, by the higher speed limits. This is consistent with a large body of research showing immediate increases in road trauma when speed limits are increased."


      Mark Murphy

      Mar 23, 2015 at 3:58pm

      Minister Stone has expressed frustration getting to his home riding up-Island from Victoria. All the highways on the Island have a high number of left hand turns and way too many vehicles. How is he proposing people turn left on these highways if they can't move into that lane when there's a break in the steady stream of traffic? Most of the 'frustrated' tail-gaiters out there are zooming onto vehicles trying to make a turn on a poorly designed road. I imagine he hasn't done a lot of thinking about this.

      In stead of engaging in a puerile exercise maybe he should get some help straightening out the steaming mess that is the Coastal Ferry system.

      Scott Lang

      Mar 23, 2015 at 6:10pm

      A 'left lane law' makes no sense to me. To me, current traffic signs suggest that to keep traffic moving vehicles travelling slower than the posted speed limit should endeavor to stay in the right lane. The signs do not prohibit vehicles from travelling in the left lane, especially if they are travelling at the speed limit. However, the signs are, from my perspective, often interpreted as an excuse for people to speed in the left lane which is what I fear will escalate if a 'left lane law' is passed - slower traffic, regardless of speed - right lane only. Speed kills - there is absolutely no question about that! What evidence is there that travelling in the left lane kills when speeding is not a factor? Furthermore, tail-gating is a risk when drivers cut back into the left lane prematurely after passing and this practice will be more common if a 'left lane law' is passed - markedly increasing risk for everyone on the road. As pointed out above in a previous comment, if a vehicle must turn left and there is no turning lane what choice do drivers have? Enforcing such a law would be a nightmare. The law would likely increase road rage because it would be seen by many as an entitilement. I suggest a better approach would be to influence the public to embrace a safety-first culture that is, first and foremost, intended to save lives and, secondarily, helps everyone get to their intended destinations as quickly as possible. As far as the transport ministry is concerned my advice is to carefully consider the intentions, the rationale, and the potential consequences of what I feel would be a silly, even dangerous and irresponsible, law. There are much more important things for a transport minister to focus on.

      @ Bruce

      Mar 23, 2015 at 6:33pm

      Slower traffic has no business in the left lane. When a slow vehicle is travelling at the same speed or slower than traffic in the right lane, it causes frustration. If someone walks in front of you and then slows down, you are going to be irritated. You are not going to ticket this out of people. You can however, educate the simpletons who are indignate to all the vehicles passing (and likely cutting them off) them on the right. 5 vehicles following an idiot in the left lane have to make 10 lane changes to get around it. The danger in this increases with the volume of traffic. I'd argue that this is more dangerous than travelling 10-20% over the speed limit on roads rated for semi trucks.

      @ Bruce

      Mar 24, 2015 at 3:38am

      Or they could just relax, enjoy the scenery. But, you know, type a personalities can't do that, I guess.

      Slower Traffic

      Mar 24, 2015 at 6:07am

      Slower traffic does have business in the left lane - to wit - when you need to turn left, or when you need to pass an even slower vehicle in the right hand lane, or when the traffic is so heavy that the entire road is clogged.

      The proposed fine is simply stupid and will cause more problems than it solves as police create traffic disturbances while ticketing people.

      Jeff Obrecht

      Mar 24, 2015 at 7:29am

      This is great news!! It's about time something was said about this issue... while we are at it, maybe we could explain how a "round-about" circle works!!


      Mar 24, 2015 at 9:02am


      "You are not going to ticket [tailgating] out of people. "

      Yes, in fact, you can. The german autobahn is policed by large numbers of surveillance cameras and "ghost" police cars, that specifically focus on tailgating. The standard separation mandated is 7 car lengths. Following aggressively is referred to as "coercion", and is a criminal offense, punishable by up to 2 years in prison.


      Mar 24, 2015 at 9:06am

      Re the autobahn: "Penalties for tailgating were increased in May 2006 to a maximum of € 375 ($514) and three months license suspension: "drivers must keep a distance in meters that is equal to half their speed. For example, a driver going 100 kph on the autobahn must keep a distance of at least 50 meters (165 feet)".