Left lane hogs not a top priority for police chiefs

Concern raised that police enforcement to free up passing lanes may spur more speeding

Transit Police Chief Neil Dubord is the chair of the traffic subcommittee of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police.

A crackdown on so-called left lane hogs is not a top priority for the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police, despite plans by the province to pass tougher legislation to free up highway passing lanes.

The chiefs are more concerned about drug-impaired driving and distracted driving, said Transit Police chief Neil Dubord, who chairs the association’s traffic sub-committee.

“We’re looking at things that can make a difference and save people’s lives,” Dubord said. “This wasn’t one of our top two priorities.”

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The association of police chiefs is looking forward to the promised new legislation, he said, but is concerned enforcement could encourage speeding.

“What’s the message you send by enforcing against someone who’s going the speed limit and not keeping up with traffic?” Dubord asked.

“Those are messages we have to be very, very careful on. We don’t want to reinforce to someone that when traffic is moving faster than the speed limit you can’t go the speed limit.”

Tickets issued under the existing legislation were often challenged and thrown out of court.

Dubord said getting a conviction required an “extreme case” where a left-lane hog showed an ongoing pattern of violating the keep-right rule, not a single incident.

He predicted any improved ticketing power would be of only “limited use” in Metro Vancouver because of frequent congestion and because drivers need to use the left lane to exit or turn off of some routes, such as Marine Way in Vancouver.

Dubord said it might have some application on highways 99 and 91, but its main use would be on rural highways outside the Lower Mainland.