EDITORIAL: Left-lane laws not necessary

Minister Todd Stone’s announcement that the province is looking at legislation targeting left-lane hogs is populist pandering

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation is hogging the left-hand lane, speeding toward another misplaced priority.

Minister Todd Stone’s recent announcement that the province is looking at legislation targeting left-lane hogs on the highway is populist pandering, it’s unnecessary and it’s undesirable.

Stone suggests left-lane huggers are particular to B.C. –  coincidentally the province in which he happens to commute to work.

Apparently, everyone who drives slower than our transportation minister is a slowpoke and everyone who drives faster than him is a maniac.

This isn’t a law for which British Columbians have been clamouring – it seems to have appeared in our rear-view mirror from out of nowhere. One imagines the minister turned red with road rage recently, stuck behind some driver who failed to accelerate.

On the long list of transportation problems faced by residents in this province – especially in the Lower Mainland – slow left-lane drivers wouldn’t likely crack the top 10. It’s a nuisance, sure. But not something our elected officials should be concerning themselves with at this point in time.

Stone says ICBC statistics and RCMP traffic reports show that failure to keep right causes a lot of collisions, but we suspect that the impatient drivers who surround the cautious ones are every bit as culpable.

Must our roads suit only the fast and the furious? Already the B.C. Liberal government has raised speed limits, conditioning motorists to race at Mach 1. Any crackdown on left-lane hogs is going to empower tailgaters and road-ragers, potentially causing more car crashes. The province has been erecting signs along the highways gently reminding motorists to keep right; that should suffice.

As well, in many parts of the province, the highway speed limits have already been bumped up to 120 km/h – though not on Highway 1 through the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley.

While it can be frustrating to drive behind those who plod along in sub-compacts – some of which may have trouble revving up to 120 km/h – most of them are familiar enough with the unwritten rules of the road, and will move over to the right lane just as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Yes, the left lane is there to get us where we’re going, faster. But for drivers who are in that much of a rush to get where they’re going, legislation is not the answer. Perhaps they could just leave the house a couple of minutes earlier.

Peace Arch News

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