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.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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(8) comments


Some laws don't exist to be universally enforced, they exist to give law enforcement an option, something to put a tool in their tool bag enabling them to cite or arrest someone in order to improve a situation. They probably won't run around trying to catch everybody who does this, they'll use it if they see a problem. I still don't understand the problem though. Are these drivers in the passing lane going under the speed limit, or are they simply not speeding enough? Doesn't that make it problematic to choose to cite them instead of those who are speeding? For that mater, if they're holding up traffic by only going 3 over the speed limit when others want to do 14 over (or more depending on the wink wink factor) then they are still speeding, in which case they can be pulled over an cited for something, to make the point about the coasting.


The reality is that a Republican politician is promoting a new regulation and more government intrusion because he has a petty complaint.


Republicans believe in small government and less regulation, as seen here in Mr. Griffo’s Law. Republicans believe in reducing government spending, which is why our federal spending and debt are at all time highs, one trillion dollar debt this year! Republicans are the “Family Values Party” who elected serial child rapist Dennis Hastert to be speaker of the house, and elected a president who met his wife at a Jeffrey Epstein Party.


You forgot to mention former President Bill Clinton who racked up several frequent flyer miles with 26 trips on Epstein's Lolita Express. In regards to the federal spending, the House controls spending, which happens to be democrat controlled.


Did Bill Clinton say he was from the “moral majority”? Spending went up the most when Republicans controlled the house. Facts have a very liberal bias.


How dare I confuse the issue with facts! We feel that Republicans are responsible, therefore it is true. I had better get with the program.


Congress as a whole controls spending. But the President is in a leadership position and signs off on it. The reality is, even though the Democrats hold the house McConnell still holds most of the power of congress. He controls what does and doesn't happen and can demand anything he wants. Furthermore, a large part of the reason for the current deficit is the tax plan which was given to us by a %100 Republican government. But your default assumption is that deficits can only be reduced by spending cuts. So where did Republicans cut spending when they owned the field? Did they hack off one one hundredth of a percent by cutting NPR and SNAP, then raise the budget far more for some pork barrel or optional military endeavor? The Republicans get to own this deficit.


How do people think Republicans are responsible with money? They spend more than Democrats, and yet cut taxes at the same time. Republicans actually get angry when Democrats pass a law that pays for itself. Yet Republicans were A-OK with spending more than one trillion dollars in Iraq. What did that get us? The Iraq war cost more than free college would.

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