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Slowpokes, Get Out Of The Way Or You're Gonna Pay

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It happens hundreds of times a day throughout the metro area. A driver who is in a hurry cuts over to the far left lane — the, ahem, passing lane — only to find themselves behind Slowpoke McGee. Slowpoke is enjoying the scenery. Maybe it's his day off. Maybe he's not from around here and "My, oh my, would you look at that gorgeous skyline!" Or maybe he's on his damn phone and oblivious to traffic conditions. Whatever the reason, he's cruising along at (gasp!) the posted speed limit of 55, which EVERYONE knows is at least 20 mph slower than the typical Atlanta driver moves. (This 2007 video proves it.) And this, friends, is why Atlanta is ranked the number 2 city for road rage and why Georgia passed HB 459, a new law against left-lane sluggishness that went into effect yesterday.

The new law applies to divided highways with four or more lanes. Under the law, drivers who stay in the far left lane once a faster car has approached from behind are guilty of a misdemeanor and can be ticketed accordingly. This is effective immediately. There are some exceptions involving weather and traffic conditions that make it necessary to use the left lane, left-lane exits and toll booths, but as a general rule, get out of faster vehicles' way and don't impede traffic. In combination with the speed limit increase from 55 to 65 that's coming to the Perimeter's top end in September, it's clear that lawmakers believe the solution to Atlanta's traffic problems is speed.

· Full text of HB 459 [Georgia General Assembly]