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Senator wants bigger fine for slow left lane drivers

Cropped Photo: lorenz.markus97 / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - One South Carolina lawmaker wants to increase the fine for drivers who go slowly in the left lane.

State Sen. Ross Turner said his 200-mile round trip commute from Greenville to Columbia helped convince him of the need for a South Carolina law similar to one that took effect last month in Oklahoma.

"I constantly got stuck behind people in the left lane and said, 'That's a great idea!'" the Republican told The Post And Courier of Charleston.

Turner's bill would increase the fine for driving less than the speed of normal traffic in the passing lane of a multi-lane highway by $200.

There is currently a law on the books in South Carolina making it illegal to drive too slowly in the passing lane. Troopers wrote 1,132 tickets under the existing law last year, but the law also includes other violations like crossing the center line.

Turner said he isn't sure how his proposal might be enforced, but he wants to send a message to slow drivers who clog the left lane.

The president of the South Carolina Trucking Association said truckers are worried about the proposal.

Truck drivers should be able to pass slower moving 18-wheelers, but it can take a while because their rigs can be electronically limited to a certain speed, Rick Todd said.

It's ironic that "people don't want a ticket when they're speeding, but they want someone else to have a ticket for slowing up," Todd said.

But Todd said truckers also understand why some people get frustrated.

"With car drivers, the person's either oblivious or has an attitude," Todd said. "The issue is getting worse because of congestion, and people are less patient, and cars speed a lot. Combine all that, and people get irritated."

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