Left-lane laggards & voting wrongs


Once upon a time in Atlanta, a newspaper columnist cried in print, “Lock up your silver and your women and children — the Georgia legislature is in town.”

I generally hold with those who give thanks that our lawmaking politicians are limited to 40 days of official mischief each year — but they are high-performing mischief-makers.

Does anyone ever wonder, do we need a law for just about every imaginable problem under the sun? Between the local councils and commissions, the state legislature and the federal government, every year we citizens are the recipients (or more accurately, victims) of thousands of new laws, not to mention the uncountable new and expanded regulations to administer those laws.

If all lawmaking was suspended for one year from sea to shining sea, don’t we have enough laws and regulations and rules to cover all of us for that 12-month sabbatical?

With that preamble, I rise to applaud the honorable ladies and gentlemen of the General Assembly for at least one good potential law to come out of that yearly gathering.

That would be House Bill 459, known to many as the “Slow Poke Law.” It has passed the House and currently resides in the Senate, whose members may yet discard the one good thing they might accomplish this year.

House Bill 459 says, “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.”

I say, amen, brothers and sisters.

Penalties are about the same as for other moving traffic violations, though no points against one’s driver’s license are involved.

Some law officers are squirming, complaining how difficult it will be to catch the left-lane laggards. My response is that the laggards are easy to spot: Just post a patrol unit along Ga. Highway 54 and watch for the “clots,” the “rolling road blocks,” the multi-car parade led by two vehicles driving abreast, mile after mile.

Tag the front car in the left lane, and traffic fine revenue will be increased without the use of radar guns or stop sign surveillance.

The bill provides for local governments to install signage setting minimum speed limits for four-lane roads.

Such signage and consistent enforcement would increase highway safety, decrease incidents of road rage and aggressive driving, and solve some of the traffic problems in Fayette County and its cities.

That’s what I would like to see local traffic law enforcement concentrate on.


Now we move from the Gold Dome in Atlanta to local politics.

Congratulations to all the candidates who have qualified to run for two posts on the Fayette County Commission and two posts on the Board of Education.

Congratulations is all you’re going to get from me for three of those four posts, since the new district voting scheme disenfranchises my ability to vote on either of the school board posts and one of the county commission seats.

I have the markedly diminished pleasure of being able to vote on only one of those posts, the one with three ex-mayors renewing their rivalries.

So four of those folks eventually will get to spend my money, but I will get to vote on only one of them.

Justice for some ain’t justice for all. Or at all.

[Cal Beverly is editor and publisher of The Citizen and TheCitizen.com.]