Stay out of left lane law — unless you are passing — begins Sunday in SC

Around the South

FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — A new South Carolina law that will fine drivers for impeding the left lane is set to take effect Sunday.

Drivers could face a $25 fine from South Carolina Highway Patrol for blocking the left lane. One driver said the fine is not high enough.

“Twenty-five dollars is not enough for me,” Danny Smith said. “I mean, there’s got to be some penalty for it.”

Smith spends hours on the road every day for his job. He said he constantly runs into cars driving slowly in the left lane.

“Most people are going to do at least the speed limit and they come flying up on someone doing 10 under,” Smith said. “It’s really dangerous.”

He said it is a problem he has experienced since he first started driving. He thinks a new law is a good idea.

“I think it’s awesome,” Smith said. “I think they should have put it in effect years ago.”

Master Trooper Brian Lee with South Carolina Highway Patrol said for the first 90 days that the law is in effect, only warnings will be issued. The fine kicks in after that.

“A lot of times we just want to educate. People think we’re just out there to write a ticket or something like that,” Lee said. “We want to give people a chance to say, “Hey, I really didn’t hear about this.’”

Lee expects the law to help prevent road rage issues.

“Somebody will get in that left lane, the speed limit is 55, they’re driving 50 or 45, got traffic backed up for miles,” Lee said. “It just causes a problem and I think this is going to help.”

He stressed that the law should not be used as an excuse to speed.“Whatever you do, don’t speed,” Lee said. “If you need to speed to pass somebody, then you need to stay behind them.”

Lee said the new law will also help first responders get to calls faster. “Let’s say an emergency vehicle is coming and that vehicle needs to get by maybe going to a call of service,” Lee said. “It gives them an opportunity to make that pass in the left lane to get around people.”

Drivers who are ticketed for impeding the left lane will not receive points against their license. There are several exceptions to the rule, like when traffic is too tight to enter the right lane or when exiting to the left.

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