Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Merrifield Pushes Bill to Encourage Slow Mountain Road Drivers to Make Room for Others

Rep. Mike Merrifield, D-Colorado Springs, has lost some patience with drivers on mountain roads who slow down traffic.

The avid mountain biker and skiier has introduced legislation that would allow police to ticket drivers of cars moving at less than the speed limit on a two-lane mountain road if their leisurely pace is causing a line of five or more vehicles to build up behind them.

Merrifield says it's a matter of safety.

"A number of times I’ve seen a number of cars who have just gotten fed up and passed in dangerous and illegal places and put peoples’ lives in danger," he said.

Merrifield emphasized that his bill would not require drivers to pull off the road in an unsafe place, such as on a stretch where no shoulders exist.

"If there’s no place to pull over, then you don’t have to," he said. "We’re trying to make the situation safer, not less safe.”

HB 1042, if enacted into law, would require only that the driver impeding traffic move off the road at the first safe place available.

The Colorado Highway Patrol supports the bill, Merrifield said.

The legislature enacted a requirement that drivers in the left lanes of multi-lane freeways move over to accommodate faster-moving vehicles a few years ago.

Merrifield's bill will have its first hearing tomorrow.