Mississippi lawmakers fail to pass bills to slow vehicles at night, clear left lane

| 2/14/2005

Legislation in Mississippi that sought to slow down drivers on major thoroughfares will have to wait until next year.

Another legislative effort intended to keep slowpokes out of the left lane on the state’s multilane highways met the same fate.

The efforts failed to be reported out of committee prior to the Feb. 1 deadline for House and Senate panels to report out bills and constitutional amendments originating in their chambers.

Rep. Erik Fleming, D-Jackson, 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 – remained in the House Transportation Committee at the deadline.

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

Two bills offered by Sen. Johnnie Walls, D-Greenville – SB2499 and SB2500 – authorized troopers to ticket drivers who go too slowly in the far left lane of multilane highways in the state.

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

Those who lag in the left lane could have been ticketed and fined $25 with no points off the drivers’ licenses.

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

Violators would be fined $25 under the measures. Both bills remained in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

An unrelated bill to penalize drivers for blocking or preventing an emergency vehicle from using the left-most lane of roadways also failed to move from committee. The bill – HB497 – was in the House Judiciary Committee.