UTICA — “Coasting” in the passing lane will be a thing of the past on New York’s sections of interstate highways if state Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-I-C-Rome, has his way.
Sen. Griffo proposed legislation on Sept. 6 that would penalize the practice as a way to keep traffic moving.
Bill S6675A, the “failure to pass” act, would require drivers to use the far left lane only for passing. “Coasting” in the lane for more than 1.5 miles could result in a $50 fine for the first offense and $100 fine for every time thereafter. No points would be added to a license for this offense, unlike most other moving violations.
While a number of people have contacted Sen. Griffo over the years about the problem with coasters and the disruptions they cause to the traffic flow, Sen. Griffo said it was a photo journalist from Rome who, on a trip to Alabama, saw how well a “no coasting” law worked there and asked why it couldn’t be adopted in New York.
Similar laws have been enacted in more than a dozen states, the news release said, including Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia and Washington.
The senator said his staff looked into it and he spoke to a number of colleagues and constituents who were very supportive of the idea.
“I’ve had my own personal experiences on the I-90 when there are back-ups because of one vehicle sitting in the passing lane at the same speed as the car or truck in the lane next to it,” Sen. Griffo said, “It’s not just frustrating, but it worries me the safety hazard it creates because people then pass on the right.”
Road rage leading to tailgating and other aggressive and dangerous driving practices that result from “coasters” will also ideally be decreased by the proposed law, he said, and give law enforcement an opportunity to do something about the problem with more behind it than just a warning yet without excessive ramifications for drivers.
“It’s more to educate and change behavior than penalizing drivers,” Sen. Griffo said.
Two out of the three comments posted on the senate’s website page for the legislation at the time of writing support the bill, while the third person states that laws already on the books are sufficient to battle the problem if they are enforced.
If approved, the “failure to pass” act would not compete with the “move over law” which requires drivers to move into lanes away from emergency vehicles pulled over on the side of the road.
The legislation has been referred to the state Senate’s Rules Committee for consideration and the senator said he is working on companion legislation for the Assembly.