Another needless bill – Hasso Hering


A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Another needless bill

Written February 11th, 2013 by
And what about one-way streets like this? SB 511 makes no exception for them.

And what about one-way streets like this? SB 511 makes no exception for them.

Hundreds of bills have been introduced in the Oregon legislature, so it should be no surprise that a good many of them are unnecessary or pointless. Consider, for example, Senate Bill 511 introduced by Sen. Ginny Burdick, a leading Democratic senator from Portland.

Her bill would require drivers of all vehicles, not just trucks or campers, to drive in the right-hand lane when there are more than one lane going in the same direction. Failure to do so is a Class B traffic violation. It is, in short, something for which a cop could pull you over. The bill would allow for exceptions such as passing another vehicle or making room for one that is merging.

Now, is failure to drive in the right lane a problem that needs a legislative solution? Not really, is it? And there are plenty of good reasons why sometimes we drive in the fast lane on a multi-lane highway. Maybe the pavement in the slow lane is rough. On wet days, maybe we want to avoid the spray from the vehicles in front. Maybe traffic is heavy and the right lane is full, and pushing our way in would just cause an accident. Or maybe traffic is such that pulling to the right every chance we get would mean running a slalom down the road, and it seems a lot calmer and safer just to stay in the left lane until things clear up ahead.

You have to wonder what prompts a legislator to introduce such a bill? Was she annoyed by slow drivers hogging the left lane on the the way down from Portland? Couldn’t she just wait a minute until they pulled to the right? Or until it was safe to move to the right herself and pass the slowpoke ahead?

Senate Democrats have posted some sensible goals for this legislature, including strengthening the state’s economy and protecting critical services. Let them concentrate on that. When it comes to fiddling with our driving laws in needless ways, let them refrain. (hh)

From Ted Salmons, Lebanon: When I read bills like this I sometimes wonder if there is some little known provision in the law that allows them to get paid “by the bill”? Actually a better title might have been “Another Needless Politician.” Have a great week.  Although with a legislature that even considers bills like this in session, that becomes harder by the day.

From Matt Bixby, via Facebook: I get annoyed to no end by the driving habits of many Oregonians… and the needless occupation of the fast lane by slow drivers is high on the list. That said, the solution is not legislative. The solution is better educated, and more conscientious drivers. If more drivers were less self-absorbed, we would have better traffic, fewer accidents, and happier Oregonians. This new law would be even less effective than the “hands free”cellphone law… which five has been a complete waste of time.





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