HCR108 “request[s] the department of transportation to collaborate with county police departments to educate the public about vehicular lollygagging and to enforce Hawaii’s keep-right driving law.”
Honolulu County law prohibits driving more than 5 mph under the limit in the left lane.
Citing a litany of problems caused by lollygagging – accidents, traffic jams, road rage – the resolution points to recently enacted legislation Florida, Georgia, Washington state, Texas and Ohio that gives tickets to slow drivers in the “fast” lane.
Hawaiians often scoff at the rule to keep right as a mainland thing, “a custom more honored in the breach than the observance” as anyone who’s ever sat behind two cars in lockstep over the Pali or dodged cars jamming across three lanes on the H-1 knows.
“I don’t have to move over for speeders,” one driver said, echoing a popular sentiment.
Nor is law enforcement unanimous in its understanding of the law. One patrolman was recently overheard saying “there’s no law against driving slow in the left-hand lane.”
In written testimony, Department of Transportation director Ford Fuchigama responded tepidly to the suggestion that his department take the wheel.
“The Department of Transportation supports the intent of this resolution,” Fuchigama said from the upper parapets of the transportation building on Punchbowl Street. “However, creating a driver-education program or public-awareness campaign as well as assessing roadways that have high incidents of slow-moving vehicles traveling in the left lane would require additional resources.”
While page 65 of the department’s “Official Hawaii Driver’s Manual” addresses “choosing a proper traffic lane,” Fuchigama may be correct in his estimation of the cost of changing hearts and minds.
Some habits die hard. “Hawaiian style” often means folks lounging in beach chairs in the backs of pick-ups, girls sailing by on mopeds with surfboards lashed to the side, and old Hawaiian couples drifting onto the left-hand shoulder like snow.
The bill will be taken up by the upper chamber this week.
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