Pennsylvania bill would boost fine for violating keep right rule

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 10/1/2013

A Pennsylvania state lawmaker wants to follow the path of neighboring New Jersey in an effort to improve safety on roadways.

Pennsylvania state Rep. Dom Costa, D-Stanton Heights, introduced a bill that’s aimed at encouraging more drivers to stay to the right through the threat of increased fines.

The Keystone State already prohibits drivers from hanging out in the left lane. Travelers have limited left-lane use on multilane roadways.

Exceptions are made for vehicles traveling at a speed greater than the traffic flow. Drivers are also permitted to use the lane for up to two miles in preparation for a left turn or to allow traffic to merge.

The bill – HB1539 – would increase fines for failure to keep right from $25 to $100. It is in the House Transportation Committee.

Costa said the stiffer punishment is necessary because motorists traveling slowly in the left-hand lane can “present both a frustration and danger” to other drivers.

“Vehicles traveling at a slow speed in the left-hand lane for an extended period can cause road rage, tailgating, and force vehicles to pass in the right-hand lane, thereby diminishing safety on our roadways,” Costa wrote in a memo to lawmakers.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill into law over the summer that increases fines from a minimum of $50 to as much as $300 for motorists who fail to keep right except when overtaking another vehicle.

Trucks and buses driving in New Jersey are forbidden to travel in the far-left lane on highways with at least three lanes in each direction. However, trucks are allowed to enter or exit the roadway from the left lane or to respond to “emergency conditions.”

Another provision in the New Jersey law specifies that $50 of each fine would be put into a fund to pay for signage reminding motorists entering the state to keep right excepting for passing. A fiscal note attached to the bill estimates that $91,700 would be deposited into the fund each year.

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