British Columbia Reports Historic Drop in Left-Lane Violations

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Eight years have passed since the British Columbia government implemented stricter penalties for highway drivers who obstinately refuse to yield and allow others to overtake. Yet, unexpectedly, fewer infractions for the offence are being reported than ever.

Data from the Insurance Bureau of British Columbia uncovered that merely 299 citations were given for “failing to keep right” in 2022. Marking a staggering decline from 676 reported cases in 2018.

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Corporal Mike Moore of the BC Highway Patrol, indicated to media that the safety of the highways remains the main priority for officers, conceding that there has been less focus on identifying and apprehending drivers who monopolize the left lane.

Moore stressed that their primary directive focuses on penalizing drivers exhibiting aggressive driving patterns, as opposed to those who simply prefer to use the left-hand lane. However, the progressive decrease in fines for such offences might suggest that drivers are at last comprehending the rule – keep left only to pass.

Moore hinted at possible evidence of this growing understanding, recounting instances he had seen of motorists applauding one another for making space. “It’s always appreciated,” he said, adding, “I’ve seen motorists wave to the other motorist saying ‘thank you very much for moving over and letting me by.’”

The province’s Motor Vehicle Section 151.1 law was strengthened in 2015, granting police the authority to intervene and reprimand stubborn left-lane drivers with a $109 fine. In 2019, 531 drivers were penalized for committing this violation, a figure that reduced to 448 in 2020 and further to 331 in 2021.

As per the province’s regulations, when traffic volume allows, drivers are advised to stick to the right lane, moving left only to overtake slower vehicles. It’s clearly specified on the provincial government’s website that adhering to the designated speed limit is an unacceptable justification for blocking the left lane.

As per the rule, “the driver must vacate the left lane even if they are adhering to the posted speed limit.” The law further elaborates that such lane blockers, in addition to decreasing the efficiency of the highway network, might incite frustration among fellow drivers, fostering erratic, and potentially dangerous, overtaking maneuvers.