NMA says ‘Lane Courtesy Month’ a successful awareness campaign

| 6/27/2003

The month of June, designated "Lane Courtesy Month" by the National Motorists Association, has seen some strong success in making motorists think about yielding the left lane to faster moving traffic, the organization said in a statement.

"It's been a very widely recognized effort, and we've had good response," says Eric Skrum, NMA communications director.

Skrum says achieving a high degree of lane courtesy on America's highways will require a commitment to education, public relations, and a more enlightened approach to traffic management.

State and federal agencies have invested billions of dollars in public relations campaigns promoting traffic law compliance, seat-belt usage, construction zone safety and anti-drinking and driving messages.

Skrum says lane courtesy has been largely ignored, perhaps because this is one concept most motorists endorse.

"A small investment to promote lane courtesy and how it works would pay major dividends," he says. "Add in an educational component for beginning drivers and reminders for older drivers and the benefits would be immediate."

However, he said, the major entrenched obstacle to the firm establishment of a lane courtesy ethic still remains – politically concocted speed limits.

"As long as low speed limits allow slower drivers to usurp the left lane under the claim of moral superiority, 'I'm doing the speed limit,' we will not realize the full benefits of a national lane courtesy ethic," says Skrum. "Until the establishment of rational speed limits (those that reflect the actual prevailing speeds on each highway system), the current limits will remain the most entrenched impediment to the faster, smoother, safer and more efficient travel our highways can inherently offer.”

Skrum says the repeal of the 55 mph national maximum speed limit in 1995 was a big step forward, but there's still a long way to go.

"Regardless of the political obstacles, America needs and deserves a lane courtesy ethic," he says.

The National Motorists Association was established in 1982 to represent the interests and rights of North American motorists. It operates at the national level and through a system of state chapters. The NMA is supported through the contributions of individuals, families and small businesses.