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Jesse Breedlove

Keep Right USA

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How best to educate the public as to the importance of the Slower Traffic Keep Right laws in respect to public safety?

Slower Traffic Keep Right is the law in most states. Failure to keep right has a negative effect on traffic safety, traffic congestion, emergency response, aggressive driving, air pollution, fuel consumption, direct and indirect medical costs and much more.

There are many traffic safety laws, Slower Traffic Keep Right may be the most important. Not only is it a law, but also a guide on how to maintain order on today’s busy roads and freeways. With an ever increasing amount of vehicles and usually between two and four lanes, this is the only way that motorists of differing speeds can share the road safely and orderly.

If all motorists obeyed the Slower Traffic Keep Right laws at all times there would be a reduction in traffic accidents, traffic fatalities and traffic congestion. Emergency response would also be improved resulting in even more lives being saved.

The main argument against enforcing this law is that it promotes speeding. The fact is that this is not a speed issue, but a safety issue. It is the responsibility of the police to enforce the speeding laws, not other motorists. Motorists that impede the free flow of traffic force faster motorists to pass on the right. Impeding the free flow of traffic is a very dangerous practice and a leading cause of aggressive driving and road rage.

Undisciplined motorists that impede the free flow of traffic through ignorance, inattention, or just being inconsiderate show a disregard for public safety and the normal practice of defensive driving. Driving is a privilege, not a right. Whether you drive fast, slow, or moderate, people that drive slowly in the passing lanes cause a hazard for all of us.

Slower Traffic Keep Right is a basic driving technique. How do we get politicians, law enforcement and the motoring public on the same page as to the importance of this law? There is a grass roots campaign that is addressing this issue, Google America Keep right.

Help further this conversation with your ideas.

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    Nov 9 2012: I think the scenario you are hoping to establish looks like this: If a driver chooses to exceed the posted legal maximum speed limit then all those who do not choose to drive as fast should yield by merging to the right. Basically you are advocating a "Yield To Faster Traffic No Matter What The Posted Speed Limit Is" rule.
    Creating a hazard while driving is always a moving violation. Driving too slow, or too fast is a moving violation with only one remedy: obey the posted speed limit. I totally agree that those who choose to drive below the posted maximum speed limit should observe the STKR rule. But, I don't think that is what you advocate, is it? You want others to get out of your way if you choose to disregard the maximum speed limit, am I right? You want the left lane reserved for the drivers who disregard and exceed the posted maximum speed. It is interesting to note how many drivers use the phrase "fast lane" when there is no such thing since the speed limit is the same for all lanes. (Are you related to Craig?)
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      Nov 10 2012: Mr. Long, Thank you for your input. As I have stated before, "I do not condone speeding" and I prefer to call the left lanes "passing lanes" rather than "fast lanes". I am not advocating that people obey this law so that I can personally drive faster. This is the law in most states, visit this link about state "Keep Right" laws on the MIT website (http://www.mit.edu/~jfc/right.html). The page on the MIT website speaks for itself.

      You will find a common theme on the MIT state "Keep Right" laws page regarding "Keep Right Except To Pass". "Keep Right Except To Pass" and "Slower Traffic Keep Right" are basically the same with some slight differences.

      "Keep Right Except To Pass" is probably a better term to use than "STKR". They both aim to make our roads and freeways safer. "Keep Right except to pass" requires motorists to drive in the right lane except to pass or turn left, and after passing to return to the right lane. "STKR" recommends that slower motorists drive in the right lane unless passing or turning left or to yield to overtaking traffic if they are driving in the left lane.

      I should have named this TED conversation, How best to educate the public as to the importance of the "Keep Right Except to Pass law" (also known as the Slower "Traffic Keep Right law") in respect to public safety. This would have eliminated the whole speed argument of this conversation. But it is best to get both sides of this issue to truly address the problem.

      There are many motorists that do not know or understand the "STKR" law or choose to disregard it because they are driving at the speed limit and they feel that they do not have to yield to a motorist that is exceeding the speed limit. This makes our roads and freeways less safe.

      I am glad that you, "agree that those who choose to drive below the posted maximum speed limit should observe the STKR rule". Why should this not apply to all motorists if it makes our roads and freeways safer?

      (continued)
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      Nov 10 2012: (continued)

      Let me give you a few scenarios.

      1. The true representation of current traffic conditions. Motorists drive at different speeds, at, above and below the posted speed limits. This is a very dangerous combination. "Slower Traffic Keep Right" is not only the law, it is also a guide for how motorists of differing speeds can share the road safely and efficiently.

      2. If no motorist exceeded the posted speed limit. Motorists drive at differing speeds, at or below the posted speed limit. There would be many motorists driving below the posted speed limit in the passing lane(s) impeding the free flow of traffic. Resulting in the same problem that we have with current traffic conditions without the excessive speed argument. This scenario would be safer than current traffic conditions but not as safe as it could be. This is not a realistic situation unless we can get all motorists to obey the posted speed limits.

      3. All motorists obeying both the posted speed limit and the "STKR" laws (Ideal situation number #1). If all motorists obeyed these laws at all times, or roads and freeways would be very safe. This is the situation that we strive for, but it is not very realistic.

      4. All motorists driving the same speed (Ideal situation number #2). If all motorists would drive the same speed, impeding the free flow of traffic would not be an issue and we would not be having this conversation. Our roads would be very safe. This is not a realistic situation.

      The only way to maximize safety in the first three scenarios is for all motorists to obey the "STKR" laws. If you can agree that "STKR" should be observed in scenario #2. Then why can you not agree that "STKR" should be observed in scenario #1. These scenarios illustrate that this is a safety issue, not a speed issue. We must address this problem under current traffic conditions.

      (continued)
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      Nov 10 2012: (continued)

      Of course if motorists would not exceed the posted speed limits, our roads and freeways would be safer. However, getting people to obey the posted speed limit is not the topic of this conversation. And quite frankly getting all motorist to obey the posted speed limit signs would be as or more difficult than getting all motorists to obey the "STKR" law. Neither of which is very realistic.

      If all motorists would obey the "Slower Traffic Keep Right" laws at all times regardless of speed, our roads and freeways would be much safer. This is the issue that we face under current traffic conditions. Obeying the posted speed limit is very important, but so is obeying the "STKR" law.

      Slower Traffic Keep Right is the law in most states. This is not just my personal opinion. If one motorist chooses not to obey a law because another motorist is not obeying a different law, does this make it acceptable? Do two wrongs make a right?

      What would you say to a motorist driving below the speed limit in the left lane(s) about observing the "STKR" law? And how would you justify your position?

      I see how you could associate my name with speed. No, I am not related to Craig Breedlove. No land speed records here.
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        Nov 11 2012: I apologize for accusing you of inappropriate motives on the issue of faster moving vehicles, I'm happy to hear you are safe, law-adiding driver. It is a citable offense in my state to interfere with the normal flow of traffic. That may be going too fast, too slow, or weaving from lane to lane, etc. I suspect most states have similar laws and I know interstate highways do. So are you simply advocating that there is a need to raise awareness of the value, or importance of the existing law?
        By the way, doesn't "Keep Right Except To Pass" boil-down to a requirement that while driving in the left lane I must move to the right every time a vehicle approaches me from behind? What if I am driving at or above the posted legal speed limit? Am I obilgated to move right? Of course not!
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          Nov 12 2012: No need to apologize Mr. Long. There are 2 sides to this story and you are entitled to your opinion. I didn't take it personally. I have been trying to raise awareness about the importance of this law for quite some time. I truly believe that this is a safety issue. If I had the funding I would commission a study on this law. It is long overdue. It is a law in most states, there should be some data to justify why.

          I was speaking to a patrolman in Texas one time and he told me that if he saw a motorist in the left lane with several vehicles behind them, he would pull them over and have a talk with them. I asked him at what speed and he said it didn't matter. I don't know what their official policy is, this is just how this particular patrolman said he handled the situation.

          "Keep Right Except To Pass" boils down to driving in the right lane and only using the left lane to pass or turn left. So driving in the left lane would be considered a violation. If you did pass and were driving in the left lane, you would be required to move right after passing whether or not there was an overtaking motorist.

          I imagine in some states if you are driving above the posted speed limit in the left lane you are not obligated to move right for an overtaking motorist. However, in some states I would imagine that you would have to move right. If a faster motorist wants to pass, he or she will eventually get around you. In the interest of safety would it not make sense to move right and let them pass without forcing them to pass on the right, possibly cutting you off.

          I am not justifying their speed, I am just stating as a motorist, I will do everything in my power to increase my personal safety. I do yield to overtaking traffic at any speed. If there is another motorist in front of me, I generally do not move right for a motorist that approaches from behind. However, there are times that I do, especially if they are driving erratic or tailgating very closely.

          (cont)
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          Nov 12 2012: (continued)

          There are several Fire and EMS Chiefs that fully endorse this program. I have successfully integrated "STKR" with the need to yield to emergency vehicles with lights and sirens on. They are related in some ways. Many motorists that do not obey the "STKR" law are the same motorists that impede the response of emergency vehicles. My organization is saving lives as you are reading this. Check out the following links:

          http://www.keeprightusa.com/news.html
          http://www.americakeepright.com/ (click on your state)

          Mr. Long, I read your bio. Thank you for your service to our country. I would hope that you seek the Truth in this issue. Is it about other motorists exceeding the speed limit, or is it a safety issue? You cannot control what other motorists do, but by obeying the "Slower Traffic Keep Right" law, you can increase safety for yourself and those in your immediate vicinity. This is the Truth as I see it.
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        Nov 12 2012: I appreciate your passion on this issue but I do need more convincing if you are so inclined. Specifically I would like to know your answer to the question I posed previously and repeat here:
        " . . . doesn't "Keep Right Except To Pass" boil-down to a requirement that while driving in the left lane I must move to the right every time a vehicle approaches me from behind? What if I am driving at or above the posted legal speed limit? Am I obilgated to move right?
        If the answer to that question is "yes" then I do not see how that is not granting the same authority to criminal speed violators that we do to emergency vehicles. Also, you seem to speak only of two-lane roads. What about multi-lane freeways? Are the outer lanes just for those who want to pass the vehicles in the right lane? Does everyone drive in the right lane? If so, doesn't that make merging onto the freeway difficult? I am not being obstinate. My questions are sincere. Thank you.
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          Nov 12 2012: Mr. Long, I did answer your question.

          "Keep Right Except To Pass" boils down to driving in the right lane and only using the left lane to pass or turn left. So driving in the left lane would be considered a violation. If you did pass and were driving in the left lane, you would be required to move right after passing whether or not there was an overtaking motorist.

          I have tried to keep the conversation somewhat simple. There are many factors when you speak of multi-lane freeways. Slower traffic should keep right. Depending on the amount of traffic, not everyone can drive in the right lane. And yes merging onto the freeway may be more difficult, but overall traffic safety and traffic congestion will improve.

          Passing on the right is a dangerous practice. Who is to blame? The motorist passing or the motorist impeding the free flow of traffic? If the motorist passing is exceeding the posted speed limit, they can be blamed. But if the passing motorist is not exceeding the posted speed limit, they cannot be blamed. However, the motorist impeding the free flow of traffic can be blamed in all scenarios.

          If this law is not that important, then why are there "STKR" signs on almost all roads and freeways? The signs are there to improve safety, not promote speeding.

          You haven't answered my questions.

          What would you say to a motorist driving below the speed limit in the left lane(s) about observing the "STKR" law? And how would you justify your position?

          I'm trying to understand your position. I have stated several times that I do not condone speeding. I am trying to address this as a safety issue. I will never convince you that this is a safety issue if you can only see this as a speed issue. You seem to be an intelligent man, can you recognize that there is a safety factor at play here?

          I have tried to make a convincing argument that this law is important in terms of safety. But to only recognize one side of the argument will not further this conversation.
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        Nov 12 2012: Sorry, I overlooked your question about what I would say to the person driving SIGNIFICANTLY BELOW the posted legal speed limit. I would say one of two things: You are driving in such a way that you are interfering with the normal flow of traffic and that is a citable offense because it creates a danger/hazard; OR, I would say, you are ignoring the POSTED advisory (not a citable offense) to keep right BECAUSE you are driving significantly below the posted legal speed limit. I am listening to your argument Mr. Breedlove. I simply do not agree that ALL TRAFFIC on a road of two or more lanes should be in the right lane except to overtake another vehice. I know your position based upon your lucid explanation and still I hold a different opinion. Thank you!

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