Slow Driving Criminalized By Ga. 'Slowpoke' Bill

HB 459, also known as the "slowpoke" bill, will penalize Georgia drivers for impeding the flow of traffic by going too slow.

Slow Driving Criminalized By Ga. 'Slowpoke' Bill
USA Today / Michael A. Schwarz

Drivers on Georgia's interstates and highways are just one signature away from seeing a bill that would that would make it a misdemeanor to lollygag in the fast lane. 

House Bill 459, a.k.a. the "slowpoke" bill, passed through Georgia's Senate almost unanimously Tuesday. The bill seeks to penalize slower drivers that impede traffic by not moving to the right when a faster car approaches from behind. (Via WAGA)

USA Today reports slowpoke drivers could face up to $1,000 in fines under the new bill and could and even get up to a year in prison. 

The bill's sponsor, Georgia Rep. Bill Hitchens, spent 33 years as a state trooper and is the former head of the Georgia Department of public safety. 

Hitchens told the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution slower cars making others pile up behind them is "the spark that ignites road rage." 

The bill has received tons of support from lawmakers but also questions as to how it will be enforced.

For instance: How slow is too slow? The bill reads in part, "No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic," but doesn't cite any specific speed. (Via Georgia General Assembly)

Roy Exum for Chattanoogan.com says he adores the effort but points out another potential issue. "A police officer would have to witness the ill-mannered dolt and it has been my experience that when a police cruiser is spotted by most motorists, they instinctively slow down. The officer must also be able to apprehend the trouble-maker and there is usually already a line of traffic trying to maneuver past."

Hitchens told Atlanta's WXIA the bill is less about fining slow drivers and more about teaching road etiquette. 

"I always thought that it was something that... good manners your momma should've taught you that when somebody comes up behind you just move out the way." 

The "slowpoke" bill now goes to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature. If signed, it could go into effect as soon as July 1.