There are few things more maddening than sliding into the left lane to pass someone, only to run headlong into an oblivious fool tootling along at five under the speed limit. Washington State Patrol knows how you feel—that's why they've launched a new awareness campaign and ticketing blitz this week aimed squarely at left-lane campers.
KING 5 News followed Trooper Brooke Bova on Monday as she issued warning after warning to drivers over their plodding pace in the left lane. For anyone who's spent time fuming on the back bumper of one of these rolling roadblocks, hearing Bova tell one of them "I have been behind you for a couple of miles, and you were the lead car with a long line of cars behind you" is music to the ears.
Of course, the Washington State Patrol isn't doing this just so you can speed with abandon. Legally, the left lane of a multi-lane highway in Washington State is a passing lane, not a fast lane. But in the words of Trooper Bova, practically "nobody" follows the rules. Last year, the WSP pulled over more than 16,000 drivers for violating the law, and this week's push comes in response to a new wave of driver complaints.
Some might chafe at the $136 fine, but it's also safer for everyone. Bova points out that keeping the left lane clear allows for quicker movement of emergency vehicles, shortening response times and allowing first responders to clear highway-blocking accidents faster.
If anyone out there still isn't getting the message, the WSP prepared a helpful video showing exactly what left-lane camping looks like: