There’s no doubt left-lane hogs can make driving more of a frustration than it needs to be. That said, making it illegal goes too far.
Senate Bill 532 would make it illegal to drive (except to pass) in the far left lane on a freeway or other highway with two or more lanes in a single direction.
It’s not the first time such legislation has been introduced; Similar measures never made it out of committee in 2013 or in 2015.
Left-lane hogs can create frustrating situations. They encourage other drivers to pass them on the right, which can be unexpected. But is it necessary to make the left lane only for passing? No.
The state already encourages new drivers to complete driver education courses, where students learn, among other things, that hogging the left lane is a no-no. The state driver manual makes a similar point, telling drivers they must drive to the right except under certain conditions.
Many Oregonians are already getting the message. If a poll conducted by PEMCO Insurance in early 2016 is valid, a majority of Oregonians believed hogging the left lane is illegal. The same poll also found that only a bit over a third of those asked in each state say they see left-lane hogs frequently.
Also consider the situation this bill would create. Traffic would likely not be as spread out as drivers stay in the right lane. Traffic would be clogged in the right lane. More congestion is not good. That is not an improvement. That will also create frustrated drivers.
And when should drivers move over? Would it be OK to drive just a wee bit faster that people in the right lane? That is passing. It just wouldn’t be passing fast.
If too many Oregonians are left-lane hogs, educating them about the problems of their practice is likely to be more effective than a law making it illegal to do something that will lead to new frustrations. Don’t pass the congestion creation bill.