MALVERNE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The left lane on the highway is meant for passing, not cruising.
Last year just 130 tickets were issued statewide for slowpokes in the left lane.
Now, some drivers are calling for safety changes.
CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan was driving 55 mph in the left lane of the Southern State Parkway. It wasn’t long before she got an earful from infuriated drivers who were trying to pass.
“Frustrated when someone is in the left lane and they are going slowly,” one driver said.
“Isn’t the left lane normally designated for passing?” another asked.
States already have laws stipulating the left is for passing on divided highways with two or more lanes. Now, some in New York want enforcement ratcheted up and fines increased.
The demands come following studies by AAA and others that driving too slowly is at least as dangerous as driving too fast.
In a just released study, nearly 80 percent of those questioned report feelings of anger, aggression and road rage when slow pokes in the left lane won’t move over.
“Drivers who are driving too slowly especially in the left lane when the rest of the prevailing traffic is faster is like someone driving 55 mph during the Indy 500. It creates a tremendous number of problems,” Robert Sinclair, AAA Northeast said.
Transportation experts said roads are engineered for slower drivers on the right and passing on the left.
“Therefore the volume increases when the capacity is being reduced, and you have problems of delays and congestion and road rage,” Dr. John Falcocchio, Professor of Transportation Engineering, NYU, said.
“You get these vigilantes who say, ‘I am staying in the left hand lane, I am going to do the speed limit, and too bad for everybody else,” one driver said.
“I look behind me all the time because I don’t want anyone to rear end me,” another said.
A study found that 5 to 10 mph slower driving in the left lane, results in faster drivers weaving, changing lanes multiple times and creating almost 10 percent of total highway accidents.
On the German Autobahn accidents and fatalities are far lower than on U.S. highways. They separate traffic by speed and are much stricter on lane discipline.