Everyone knows that speed kills. Driving too fast causes accidents because it leaves drivers with less time to react and makes vehicles harder to control. Slow driving, especially on highways, is also dangerous. When a driver is going slower than traffic, other drivers have to switch lanes to move around the slower vehicle. Dangers increase when the slow driver is in the center or left lane, causing faster traffic to pass them on the right.
New Jersey has a law specifically intended to combat this problem. Drivers can be fined up to $300 for driving too slowly. State troopers tend to enforce this law for drivers failing to keep up with the speed of traffic while traveling in the left lane. This means that, in some cases, a driver could get a ticket for driving too slowly while they are speeding.
The reason for this inconsistency is that the left lane on New Jersey highways is intended for passing, not travel. Drivers should never travel for extended periods in the left lane if they can avoid it, but anyone who has driven on the Garden State Parkway or the New Jersey Turnpike knows that this rule is ignored by most drivers. Passing on the right is generally not allowed. When someone drives too slowly in the left lane, they force traffic to pass them on the right, a frequent cause of car accidents.
In addition to the physical dangers caused by passing on the right, there is also a danger of road rage. Slow drivers blocking the left lane has been cited as the third most common cause of road rage. New Jersey’s law is intended to prevent road rage-related behaviors, such as tailgating, that cause additional dangers. By decreasing tailgating, angry driving and passing on the right, New Jersey hopes to be able to save lives.
In many European countries, drivers are strictly prohibited from using the left lane except to pass. The police enforce these laws regularly. As a result, there are less fatal accidents. Even Germany, where many of the highways have no speed limits, has a lower rate of fatal accidents per mile travelled than the United States. Experts attribute this to drivers staying to the right at all times except while passing.
Seigel Law welcomes any legislation which makes our roads safer. Our Bergen County car crash attorneys represent clients injured in auto accidents throughout New Jersey. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced injury attorney, call us now at 201.444.4000 or contact us online.