Dept. of Over-Regulation

Adapted from Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary,'' on

Rhode Island state Rep. Dennis Canario has filed a bill to punish drivers for going too slowly on roads’ left-hand “passing lanes.’’ 

But that isn't the problem. The problem is more cars speeding in right-hand lanes, failing to signal and haphazardly swerving diagonally back and forth across lanes. Sadly, you see even police cars engaging in these unsafe actions fairly frequently.

Mr. Canario’s proposal would encourage speeding, which is already epidemic these days; it often seems as if the police have mostly given up trying to enforce speed limits. This has become even more dangerous because of the texting-while-driving epidemic, which is fast raising the highway fatality and injury rate and increasing the cost of insurance coverage. And add a thick layer of stoned drivers as marijuana use becomes far more common, driven by pot entrepreneurs and states’ thirst for marijuana-tax revenues.

Russ Rader, senior vice president for communications of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, told The Providence Journal that, as The Journal paraphrased him, “there have been no major studies that show drivers going slower in the left lane leads to crashes or any other problems….{but} there is significant proof that increasing speed limits can lead to more crashes and fatalities.’’

The main effect of drivers going relatively slowly (meaning more often than not, driving at the speed limit) in left-hand lanes is anger and frustration among impatient drivers, which probably means most drivers. Deal with it! Take a bus or a train or a bike!

We need fewer, but better enforced, laws and regulations. Take Representative Canario’s bill off the road, please.