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Bill would crack down on left lane slowpokes in Minnesota

The lawmaker behind it suggests it would improve traffic flow.
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What's happening?

We've all seen them, the drivers traveling at 60mph in the left lane of a 70mph highway, jamming up traffic for everyone else.

Now a bill has been proposed in the Minnesota Senate that would change what it means to be a "left lane slowpoke," and impose stiffer penalties on those holding up traffic flow.

Put forward by Republican Sen. John Jasinski, it would amend the existing misdemeanor offense for slow-moving vehicles hogging the left lanes on state roads.

How?

Currently, Minnesota law demands drivers traveling below the "normal speed of traffic" to move over to the right lane unless they're passing another vehicle or are about the make a left-hand turn.

But Jasinski's bill removes the word "normal" from the law so it would give authorities more discretion to fine slow drivers.

He also told the Star Tribune he's hoping to increase the current $125 fine for left-lane slowpokes to discourage it further.

The bill passed the Senate's Transportation Finance and Policy committee on Wednesday, and will now head to the Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy committee for further discussion.

This is happening elsewhere

Should it be passed, Minnesota would become one of a growing number of states that have enacted slowpoke driving bills.

PBS reported last year that Oklahoma, Oregon and Virginia imposed higher fines and more restrictions on driving on the left of multilane highways, in attempts to enforce what "drivers should already know: the far left lane of a highway is for passing."

Florida, Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey and Tennessee have imposed similar laws since 2013.

Autoblog notes that left lane hogging has been illegal for years in every state, yet it doesn't seem to deter left lane campers.

It should, not least because left lane hogs are the third biggest cause of road rage in America, according to CarInsurance.com, behind texters and tailgaters.

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