Editorial: Left-lane laws not necessary

Legislation targeting left-lane hogs on the highway is populist pandering.

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation is hogging the left-hand lane, speeding toward another misplaced priority.

Minister Todd Stone’s announcement this month that the province is looking at legislation targeting left-lane hogs on the highway is populist pandering, it’s unnecessary and it’s undesirable.

Stone suggests left-lane huggers are particular to British Columbia, coincidentally the province in which he happens to commute to work. Apparently, everyone who drives slower than our transportation minister is a slowpoke and everyone who drives faster than him is a maniac.

This isn’t a law for which British Columbians have been clamouring – it seems to have appeared in our rear-view mirror from out of nowhere. One imagines the minister turned red with road rage recently, stuck behind some driver who failed to accelerate to B.C.’s new 120-kilometres-per-hour highway speed limit.

Stone says ICBC statistics and RCMP traffic reports show that failure to keep right causes a lot of collisions, but we suspect that the impatient drivers who surround the cautious ones are every bit as culpable.

Must our roads suit only the fast and the furious? Already the B.C. Liberal government has raised speed limits, conditioning motorists to race at Mach 1. Any crackdown on left-lane hogs is going to empower tailgaters and road ragers and cause car crashes. The province has been erecting signs along the highways gently reminding motorists to keep right; that should suffice.

Personally, we’re OK with the drivers who plod along in sub-compacts that limit pollution, and if they can’t quite rev up to 120 km/h, well, we’re pretty sure most of them will move over to the right lane just as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Yes, the left lane is there to get us where we’re going, faster. Or we could just leave the house a couple of minutes earlier.