New law targeting slow left-lane drivers takes effect Sunday

Updated: Aug. 13, 2021 at 12:00 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - If you like to drive slowly in the left lane of the highway, police in South Carolina will be able to ticket you starting Sunday.

A bipartisan bill to target slow left-lane drivers goes into effect.

The penalty for drivers who are in the left lane and are not passing another vehicle is $25, but the offense does not result in points added to a driver’s license.

The offense does not allow an officer to search a car and cannot be included in someone’s criminal record with the State Law Enforcement Division.

The South Carolina House passed their version of the bill on March 6 in a 108-0 vote. The House version carried a $200 fine for drivers who stay in the left lane when they either know or should know they would be overtaken by a faster vehicle and can safely change lanes but fail to do so.

Supporters have been passionate about it.

“I have been working on not using profanity as much,” said Rep. Cezar McKnight, a Democrat who drives from Kingstree to Columbia about every day during session, said at the time of the House vote. “Did you know the people who are violating the laws as stated in your bill are keeping me from fulfilling my promise to myself?”

The state Senate passed its version of the bill weeks later with the $25 fine all lawmakers eventually settled for.

Similar proposals had been frequently debated in recent years at the General Assembly, but never passed until this year.

The new law requires the state’s Department of Transportation to place signs along interstate highways warning drivers to move out of the left lane if they are driving slowly.

Other exceptions to the fine include situations in which traffic conditions make it “impractical” to drive in the right lane when weather conditions make it safer to drive in the left lane, when a vehicle must exit the highway via the left lane or when there is no one behind the car in the left lane.

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