Left Lane Politics

Guest News & Views

If you know me, you know that I do not pay much attention to politics these days. But a new law in New Hampshire has me moving to the left a bit. The left lane, that is. Let me explain.

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed a bill that makes it illegal to be a left-lane lamer. Its exact wording says: “Motor vehicles shall not be operated continuously in the left lane of a multilane roadway whenever it impedes the flow of other traffic at or below the posted speed limit unless reasonable and prudent under the conditions having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing.”

Clearly, this law is taking aim at that one person we have all dreadfully been stuck behind. Someone who is going slower than we were hoping to in the left lane. Apparently, many of the angry people stuck behind this driver have banded together enough tempestuous travelers to petition the State to bring their wrath upon these decelerate drivers. That’ll teach them.

Perplexing Language

But is this law even enforceable? Obviously, if you are going below the speed limit in the left lane and holding up traffic, they may get away with imposing their violence in the form of a fine.

But this law states “at or below” the speed limit.

Clearly it is illegal to exceed the speed limit. Therefore, “at” the speed limit is the fastest you should be going in any lane (according to the law). However, even if there is a long line of angry drivers behind you, can you really be charged with impeding the flow of traffic? After all, the drivers behind you cannot legally go any faster anyway. So, who or what are you impeding?

I’m not here to defend the guy who does this, but merely to demonstrate the absurdity of the law. This is a law that might just be worth breaking. Solely for the purpose of amusing myself in the courtroom as they try to explain to me that I was impeding the ability of the drivers behind me to break the law. Can the charges against me possibly stand? This is a law that seeks to punish people for…obeying the speed limit?

So, you will not find me driving around the state in the left lane holding everyone up in the hopes of getting caught. But the next time I am traveling down the Spaulding Turnpike and see in my mirror a two-tone green SUV with blue lights on the top gaining in the left lane in my side-view mirror, I just may make my political move to the left, and impede the flow for a bit. I’ll politely accept my ticket, and save the argument for a more formal setting in the courtroom.

Author: Barry Ellis