In an effort to improve traffic flow and deter Georgia drivers from driving too slowly in the left lane, Georgia House Bill 459, better known as the Slow Poke Law went into effect on July 1, 2014.
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O.C.G.A. § 40-6-184 – Impeding traffic flow; minimum speed in left-hand lanes
House Bill 459 revises O.C.G.A. § 40-6-184 (Impeding Traffic Flow / Minimum Speed Requirement) by adding a new subsection (c). The new subsection prohibits operation of a vehicle in the left-hand lane of a controlled-access highway except to pass another vehicle. This prohibition would not apply in seven specifically enumerated situations. Please see the “Wording of the New Law” section below.
Keep Right Except to Pass:
– Current law states that a driver should keep right except to pass.
– The newly added subsection (c) adds more emphasis on the importance of adhering to that rule, and adds penalties for not following the law.
Drivers in the fast lane driving under the speed limit are now expected to move into the right lane. In fact, current law dictates that a driver should keep right except to pass. The new law just puts more emphasis on the importance of adhering to that rule, and adds potential penalties. Of course, exceptions to the law apply, such as when there is inclement weather, driving in a construction zone or when exiting the freeway on the left.
Easier Speed Enforcement:
– With slower drivers out of the left lane, it makes it easier for police to identify speeders.
– Emergency Vehicles have an easier time getting to their destination.
Driver’s Job is not to Enforce Law:
– Many times a driver will slow down to block a speeder.
It is important that drivers leave the speed enforcement up to law enforcement, as is sometimes seen when a driver will deliberately drive at the posted speed limit or below, to purposely prevent drivers from going over the speed limit. When drivers behave this way, safety becomes a big factor as they can sometimes create a bottleneck in traffic and instigate road rage from other drivers.
– Many times aggressive driving is in response to fast drivers encountering slower drivers.
Georgia lawmakers are hopeful that the new law will minimize aggressive driving including road rage and tailgating. And, just as important, make it easier for emergency vehicles and law enforcement to travel the roadways in the event of an emergency. This new law really boils down to making the roads safer for everyone.
Penalty and Points:
– Maximum $1,000 fine, 12 month sentence
Although a $1,000 fine sounds excessive, this violation is categorized as a misdemeanor and misdemeanors in Georgia carry penalties of up to a $1,000.00 fine and up to one year in jail.
– It appears that this will be a 3 point violation.
Wording of New Law:
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
To amend Article 9 of Chapter 6 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated,
relating to speed restrictions, so as to modify provisions relating to impeding traffic flow and
minimum speed in left-hand lanes; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective
date and applicability; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:
Article 9 of Chapter 6 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to
speed restrictions, is amended by revising Code Section 40-6-184, relating to impeding
traffic flow and minimum speed in left-hand lanes, as follows:
(a)(1) No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal
and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe
(2) On roads, streets, or highways with two or more lanes allowing for movement in the
same direction, no person shall continue to operate a motor vehicle in the most left-hand
lane at less than the maximum lawful speed limit once such person knows or should
reasonably know that he is being overtaken in such lane from the rear by a motor vehicle
traveling at a higher rate of speed, except when such motor vehicle is preparing for a left
(b) Whenever the commissioner of public safety or the commissioner of transportation or
local authorities determine on the basis of any engineering and traffic investigation that
slow speeds on any part of a road under their respective jurisdictions impede the normal
and reasonable movement of traffic, such commissioners jointly, or such local authorities,
may determine and declare a minimum speed limit below which no person shall drive a
vehicle except when necessary for safe operation, and that such limit shall be effective
when posted upon fixed or variable signs.
(c) Upon roads, streets, or highways with two or more lanes allowing for movement in the
same direction, no person shall continue to operate a motor vehicle in the passing lane once
such person knows or should reasonably know that he or she is being overtaken in such
lane from the rear by a motor vehicle traveling at a higher rate of speed. For purposes of
this Code section, ‘passing lane’ means the most left-hand lane other than a high occupancy
(d) Subsection (c) of this Code section shall not apply:
(1) When traffic conditions or congestion make it necessary to drive in the passing lane;
(2) When inclement weather, obstructions, or hazards make it necessary to drive in the
(3) When compliance with a law of this state or with an official traffic control device
makes it necessary to drive in the passing lane;
(4) When a vehicle must be driven in the passing lane to exit or turn left;
(5) On toll highways, when necessary to pay a toll or use a pass;
(6) To authorized emergency vehicles engaged in official duties; or
(7) To vehicles engaged in highway maintenance and construction operations.”
This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2014, and shall apply to offenses committed on
or after such date.
All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.
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About the attorney: Anne Bishop is a Georgia Lawyer with A. Bishop Law in Gainesville, Georgia and handles various DUI / DWI, Marijuana Arrests and other Georgia Criminal Defense matters. The law office of A. Bishop Law can assist clients throughout Georgia including: Hall County (Gainesville, Oakwood, Flowery Branch), Jackson County (Jefferson, Braselton) White County (Helen, Cleveland), Lumpkin County (Dahlonega), Dawson County (Dawsonville), Habersham County (Demorest, Cornelia), and all of Northeast Georgia.
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