Lawmakers float idea to let drivers pass others on double-lined roads

Lawmakers float idea to let drivers pass others on double-lined roads

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Passing a driver, extremely slow or not, is illegal on all roads marked with a double yellow line. Now, some in the North Carolina General Assembly want to make it legal to make that pass.

Representative Rayne Brown (R) from Lexington is one of the bill's co-sponsors.

"I have truckers in my district," said Brown, "They say, 'We are constantly getting behind mopeds, garbage trucks, bicycles, people that drive less than half the posted speed. And we think it is more dangerous for us to stay behind them.'"

This double-line pass would be legal as long as the passing driver stayed at least 3 feet to the left of the slower vehicle and made the move without driving faster than the speed limit. The driver would have to be able to see that the oncoming lane was clear and be confident that the slow vehicle could be passed safely.

"I'm not sure we're at that point, yet, to say 'pass any car that's moving slow,' " Charlotte Democrat Becky Carney said. "I'm concerned about liability when I pass on the double yellow line, legally, and for some reason I hit something."

On Wednesday WBTV took the question out on the road to ask drivers if they welcomed the idea, or thought it would lead to more accidents. One local Driver's Education teacher had an interesting take on the issue.

"Our Highway Patrol in the last four years wrote me two tickets totaling $340 for passing slow moving vehicles on a double yellow line," Gary Harris told WBTV. "So yeah, I'm all for it."

"I think it depends on the situation. A lot of places on a double yellow line you can see for a half a mile, I think if you feel like you've got ample room to pass and be safe, pass them," Lanny Burton added.  "Because some of them are just poking along at a ridiculously low rate of speed and holding up traffic, they more of a danger than moving around them and going on up the road."

Veteran truck driver Barry Nesbit disagreed with his fellow diners at Graham's Grill saying that passing on the double yellow line would be dangerous.

"They's a lot of people do that anyway and I've seen a lot of people come close to have wrecks," Nesbit told WBTV. "I drove a truck for 33 years and I've seen more idiots out here now than I've ever seen, but no, there are too many curves in a double yellow line, that's why there's a double yellow line there."

At West Rowan High School, Driver's Education instructor Mike Gurley also said that passing on a double yellow line would be especially tough for young drivers.

"It's not entertainment, it's not for amusement, this is a serious thing, driving," Gurley told WBTV.  "As a Driver's Ed teacher I would say that is something that we don't need to do.  Safety's first, that's our number one concern, now you're trying to give them the liberty to make a choice out there."

"You throw in things like cell phones, your drink spilling, we don't need to add another choice to the equation," Gurley added. "You may get there a minute or two late but if you get there alive that's a whole lot better than not getting there."


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