State Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-Rome, recently used a certain phrase to describe motorists who use engage in the annoying practice of driving in the left-hand lane of interstate highways when they’re not passing other vehicles: Coasting.
Earlier this month, Mr. Griffo introduced legislation to penalize drivers who occupy the left-hand lane for at least 1.5 miles. They would be subject to fines of $50 for a first-time violation and $100 for subsequent infractions.
As with speeding, an officer would need to be present to determine whether a driver illegally coasted in the left-hand lane, according to a news release issued Sept. 6 by Mr. Griffo’s office. Violations, however, would not result in points added to the driver’s licenses of New Yorkers.
So Mr. Griffo believes the state Legislature must to act to reduce the potential for coasting. And we agree with him that this can be very irritating when it occurs.
We, however, have another term for this: Life.
Many things happen on our roadways that prove incredibly frustrating. And it’s true that some of them can increase the likelihood of accidents.
But not every irksome act can be legislated out of existence, and coasting is one of them. Our daily routines are often filled with events that are maddening, things that we must put up with in our society.
Does Mr. Griffo have anything to back up his support of this legislation? Is there information available on whether coasting causes accidents on New York highways? Can he produce statistics from other states showing that laws passed there have reduced problems?
We don’t know if this bill would address concerns that exist, other than some motorists being flustered by the driving habits of another. No evidence has yet been presented that there’s a legitimate problem that must be resolved.
The other flaw with Mr. Griffo’s proposed legislation is enforcement. The bill says drivers should be cited if they travel at least 1.5 miles in the left-hand lane without passing anyone else.
Should state troopers be stationed along the highways every few miles to catch these scofflaws? Don’t law enforcement agents have better ways to spend their time on our roadways?
If a coaster is unnecessarily causing back-ups on an interstate highway, nearby troopers can be dispatched to the designated area and “encourage” the slow poke to merge into the right-hand lane. Through this approach, officers would diffuse the potential hazards of an actual problem. They wouldn’t need to waste time issuing tickets to drivers merely to satisfy the mandates of some law.
Mr. Griffo said his bill could reduce instances of tailgating and road rage. But such practices are reckless driving habits by impatient motorists. They are the ones who must curtail their behavior since this is what leads to accidents.
Until Mr. Griffo presents solid evidence that his bill would resolve problems that exist, legislators shouldn’t advance it. They have legitimate issues to address and needn’t concern themselves with appeasing irritated drivers.