Mississippi bills would slow vehicles at night, clear left lane

| Thursday, January 27, 2005

All drivers in Mississippi would be required to slow down on major thoroughfares under a bill in the state House.

Another legislative effort in the Mississippi Senate is intended to keep slowpokes out of the left lane on the state’s multilane highways.

Rep. Erik Fleming, D-Jackson, has offered a proposal that would permit the Mississippi Transportation Commission to decide which highways should have speeds dropped at night from 70 mph to 65 mph. Highways affected by the proposal would see speeds remain at 70 mph during the day.

The bill – HB104 – is in the House Transportation Committee.

A similar effort offered by Fleming during the 2004 session failed to make it out of the same committee.

Sen. Johnnie Walls, D-Greenville, has introduced two bills – SB2499 and SB2500 – to authorize troopers to ticket drivers who go too slowly in the far left lane of multilane highways in the state.

The effort is intended to prevent slower moving vehicles from blocking the normal flow of traffic.

Those who lag in the left lane could be ticketed and fined $25 with no points off the driver’s license.

SB2499 includes a provision to require the Mississippi Department of Transportation to post signs directing slow-moving traffic to stay to the right. SB2500 doesn’t include the provision.

Violators would be fined $25 under the measures. Both are before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

An unrelated bill would penalize drivers for blocking or preventing an emergency vehicle from using the left-most lane of roadways. Under a measure offered by Rep. Mark Formby, R-Picayune, violators would face a fine up to $100 and/or up to 10 days in jail.

The bill – HB497 – is in the House Judiciary Committee.

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