SPEED UP or MOVE OVER: Upstate lawmaker wants heavier fines for slow drivers in left lane

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An upstate lawmaker wants to increase the fines for drivers who misuse or drive too slowly in the passing lane.

Sen. Ross Turner pre-filed the bill earlier this month that would fine drivers up to $200 for driving in the left lane at less than the normal speed of traffic.

The penalty is in addition to a $100 fine already on the books for the same violation, but state troopers said the actual ticket issued from Highway Patrol is $155, including court costs.

“We were just behind people going 25 mph in a 55 mph, and you can't get around them,” said Cindy Montgomery, who was traveling on I-26 Tuesday. “It's annoying as Hell.”

The greater Charleston area is already plagued by clogged highways, and people agree that “slowpoke” drivers only make the issue worse.

“I would say between here and Columbia you'll run up on 7,8,9 vehicles going too slow in the left lane,” said John Gaskins.

It’s not just an issue in South Carolina.

Oklahoma, Oregon, and Virginia passed new laws just this year with increased fines for drivers who misuse the passing lane.

Since 2013, at least five other states have also passed similar legislation.

“I just think they don't understand that they're not supposed to be in that lane,” said Terry Freeman, who frequently travels to Charleston to visit his son. “The left lane is for people to get around them.”

Many think this an increased fine will help unclog interstates and make roadways safer, but some think the fine is a excessive.

“That's kind of drastic, but they should increase it,” said Montgomery.

If passed, highway signs would also be installed to alert drivers to use the left lane appropriately.

There would also be a 90-day grace period where only warnings are issued.

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