A recent provocative article in Car Advice describes the frustration of sitting behind drivers who hog the fast lane, even at slow speeds. According to the police, lane hogging is one of the main gripes of motorists. Nobody likes it.
There are all kinds of problems with staying in the right lane:
- If the speed limit is higher than 90km/h (80 in some states), then the right lane is only for overtaking and nothing more
- Disobeying a keep left unless overtaking sign on any road is another offence
- Hogging impedes emergency vehicles, which need the right lane
- It creates long queues behind and causes other motorists to take risks to pass
- Lane hogging incites road rage.
The Car Advice author makes a good point that trucks seem more intent on passing each other than letting faster vehicles pass them. He thinks it should be illegal for trucks to be able to drive in all three lanes on a motorway. In many European countries, he says, trucks are completely banned from driving in the overtaking lanes.
A recent police crackdown on sitting in the fast lanes of the M4, M5, M7 in Sydney, suggests they are becoming aware of the scale of this problem. These types of offences carry demerit points as well as fines:
- Sitting in the right lane: $108 and two demerits
- Disobeying a keep left sign: $108 and two demerits
- Cutting in too early after overtaking a car: up to $303 and two demerits.
Many drivers may not realise it’s illegal to go over the speed limit while overtaking.
Some drivers in overtaking lanes may be so worried about speeding that they take a long time to overtake another car that is driving just below the speed limit. Relentless focus on speeding offences may have contributed to this practice.
In spite of concerted attention on speeding, running red lights and enforcement of seatbelt and mobile phone rules, the NSW road toll is 267. This is 39 higher than the same time last year and begs the question how effective fines and demerit points are for road safety.
However, they are certainly effective in pushing up the cost of your green slip.