slowpoke_billCHARLOTTE — Driving too slowly could soon cost you.

State Sen. Jeff Tarte, a lawmaker from Mecklenburg County, thinks drivers who don’t go fast enough in the passing lane should be fined. He is sponsoring the Slowpoke Bill, which would make it illegal to drive in the left lane at less than the speed limit.

“Frustrating,” said Charlotte driver Maurice Overton. “Makes me want to jump around them, then I have to jump back in the fast lane.”

If Tarte gets his way, it would soon be illegal to drive too slowly in the fast lane.

“It’s one that the state Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies have been concerned with,” said Tarte. “It causes congestion issues, and we also have road rage. So it’s kind of addressing those common issues.”

Under the bill, the fine would be $200 fine for going less than the speed limit in the passing lane. That number didn’t sit well with Charlotte drivers.

“I don’t think a $200 fine,” said Overton. “I’d say $100 or something like that.”

“I think $200 may be just a little too drastic,” said Chiquela Adams.

Tarte said he’s flexible and that amount could be changed.

“There’s a happy medium somewhere,” said Chuck Lehning with Jordan Driving School.

He says driving slowly in the passing lane can be dangerous. They teach drivers to stick to the right and let the faster traffic pass on the left.

“Driving in the righthand lane has been the rule of the road since I’ve been driving,” he said. “That’s just common courtesy.”

And if some drivers don’t follow the etiquette of the road, Adams says it’s just one of those things you have to deal with. That’s why some drivers believe a bill to address the issue is unnecessary. Tarte is moving forward with it, though. He said he is working on the language of the bill with the North Carolina Highway Patrol to make sure troopers will be able to enforce the law if it passes.

The bill passed first reading the senate on Monday. Tarte said it hasn’t been assigned to a committee yet.

– Caroline Vandergriff