Bill Seeks to Increase Fines for Failure to Keep Right

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We have all been stuck behind that driver who sits in the left lane blocking other cars from passing. Soon, however, those drivers may face higher fines if a bill recently passed by both the State Senate and General Assembly gets Gov. Chris Christie’s approval. (1)

According to New Jersey’s Driver Manual, drivers are required to “keep to the right, except when passing.” State law requires motorists to drive in the right-hand lane when such a lane is available for travel, except when preparing to make a left-hand turn or when overtaking another vehicle. (2)

Although the law has been on the books for a long time, it seems few drivers pay it any attention, if they are even aware of it. While the State Judiciary reported that 4,233 tickets were issued last year for failure to keep right, State Police have said drivers usually are not cited for this violation unless they continue to drive in the left lane for three miles or more. (3)

Currently failure to heed this traffic law carries fines ranging from $50 to $200, and 2 points on your license. The new law would increase fines ranging from $100 to $300. (3)

The bill is sponsored by State Senator Donald Norcross and Assemblyman “Whip” Wilson, and co-sponsored by Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, who has stated that failure to keep right is one of the most dangerous violations on the road after drinking and driving. The bill’s sponsors claim that violation of this law is a major contributing factor to road rage. Hanging in the left lane causes frustration among other drivers, which often leads to aggressive driving and unnecessary lane changes, behaviors that increase the chance of accidents. (3)

Many other states have similar laws calling for drivers to keep right, although New Jersey penalties may be stricter. It has been noted that many drivers who are cited for violating this law are from out of state. To help with this matter, the new bill calls for setting up a fund to finance the installation and upkeep of signs reminding all drivers of the law. That fund would be financed with $50 from each fine issued. (1)

The new bill has won the support of the National Motorists Association, which has said that the bill promotes safer and more efficient traffic flow on multi-lane roads. (1)

(1) http://nj1015.com/left-lane-hog-bill-awaits-christies-signature/
(2) http://www.state.nj.us/mvc/pdf/Licenses/Driver%20Manual/Chapter_4.pdf

(3) http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2013/06/highway_left-lane_hogs_could_see_fines_double_for_failing_to_move_over.html