A new bill introduced in the B.C. legislature today looks to put a stop to slow drivers in the left lane.
Citing the Rural Highway Safety and Speed Review, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure found that there was considerable concern with slow drivers hogging the left lane on high-speed highways, causing driver frustration and aggressive behaviour.
“Drivers who won’t move over can impede traffic and contribute to crashes. This new rule makes it clear who should travel in the left lane, and when, promoting safety on our highways,” says Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Todd Stone.
The Motor Vehicle Amendment Act, 2015 will prohibit driving in the left lane unless:
- overtaking and passing another vehicle
- moving left to allow traffic to merge
- preparing for a left hand turn
- moving left to pass an official vehicle displaying a flashing light
Drivers will also be able to use the left lane if it is unsafe to drive on the right or if traffic congestion causes travel speed to drop below 50 km/hour.
The new legislation also does not apply in a number of circumstances not listed above, including instances where there are HOV lanes or little traffic.
According to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure:
- The legislation means drivers cannot use the left-most lane of a highway with two or more lanes of traffic in the same direction and having a posted speed limit 80 km/h or greater, unless they are performing a specified action set out by the Act.
- The left-most lane does not include bus lanes or HOV lanes. On Highway 1 through Burnaby, for example, the left-most lane is the one next to the HOV lane.
- When there is little traffic, and no one is approaching from behind, a driver can travel in the left-most lane. This allows drivers on four-lane highways in rural areas to keep a greater distance from the road sides where there may be wildlife.
- This legislation allows for drivers to move to the left lane if they are passing a stopped official vehicle displaying red, blue or yellow flashing lights, such as police cars, ambulances, tow trucks and highway maintenance and construction vehicles.
There is early speculation the Ministry will set the fine for driving in the left lane at around $110.
New provincial highway signage: