Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It’s a bad idea, I ga-ron-tee

Lawmakers in the state of Louisiana recently considered a bill that would have kept tractor-trailers from using all the lanes on multilane highways in the state.

For those who haven’t heard of this yet, or who missed our broadcast the other day, the bill is SB341.

The bill is dead now, but it could come back in the future – and we see this kind of bill come up in other states on a fairly regular basis.

It makes no sense to do this. It could have an effect we’ve described on our program many times – an impenetrable wall of trucks in the right lane, keeping cars from merging on or exiting off.

Does that really sound safe? Should we really be doing this? Or is this just a way to make some four-wheelers feel like something’s being done when, really, nothing that actually improves highway safety has happened.

Like we haven’t seen that trick before.

Some states handle this with signs that say “slower traffic stay right.” The problem is all those drivers who simply think to themselves, “I’m not slower, so I’m OK here in the left lane.”

By the way, for any four-wheelers reading this, if you’re going 55 miles per hour in the left lane, and the speed limit is 70, you are slower traffic.

Just a little tip for you there.

In Kentucky, the signs say “stay right except to pass.” You can debate whether you are slower, or what that word is intended to mean. Whether or not you’re passing is a little less subjective.

States that pass this kind of bill aren’t moving ahead … they’re taking a giant step backward. Let’s hope that before any other state considers a measure like this, their lawmakers wake up and smell the coffee.