Fines For Violations Poised To Rise To As Much As $300

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Lawmakers in New Jersey have advanced a bill that would dramatically increase fines for drivers who fail to move over from the left or center lanes.

As CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, motorists see it all the time on the highways – drivers clogging up the passing lanes while drivers are forced to pass them in the right lane.

“It puts people in danger, because they never really know what, you know, they’re doing,” said Nate Lofland of Long Branch.

“A lot of people use it as a cruising lane,” added Mark Villani of Shrewsbury. “It backs traffic up, and, you know, it’s an encumbrance to traffic, which is a major problem in the state.”

In 2012, More than 4,200 drivers were ticketed in New Jersey for lingering in the left lane.

On Monday, the State Assembly passed a bill that would increase the fine for violating the state’s stay right law from the current range of between $50 and $200, to between $100 and $300.

“Hopefully people will think twice before deciding, ‘I can drive whatever speed I want in whatever lane I want,’” said Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth County.) “No, you can’t, and for good reason. It is a really hazardous practice.”

O’Scanlon co-sponsored the bill.

“If you have one person driving the left lane and shouldn’t be, you can have hundreds of very frustrated, potentially aggressive drivers — frustrated, trying to get around them,” he said. “You solve this, you educate one of these people, you eliminate hundreds of aggressive drivers.”

O’Scanlon said lawmakers will push police to enforce the law not as a revenue resource, but to educate motorists about lane courtesy and how it improves traffic flow and public safety.

“I think just like you should get fined for going too fast, you should be fined for going to slow, for not following the proper safety procedures on the road,” said Jennifer Bottomly of Forked River.

“Just like it’s polite to hold the door open for somebody if they’re coming in, I think it’s polite to get over,” said Terry Brodt of Idaho.

The state Senate is expected to vote in favor of the bill on Thursday. After that, it is up to Gov. Chris Christie to sign it into law.

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