Local Moron Ticketed For Following "Speak Out" Advice

Martha Throebeck on Friday, March 1, 2002

from the better-do-your-homework-first dept.

CAPE GIRARDEAU -- Mr. Byron Byfield likes to hog the left lane while driving down Kingshighway at 15 mph. Earlier this week, his driving style landed him in hot water with police after a line of 34 vehicles collected behind his slow-moving Ford Pinto.

"But I read in Speak Out that driving in the left lane is perfectly legal if the road isn't an interstate!" Byfield yelled to the cops after being pulled over for "driving like a total moron", a violation of Missouri law. One of the cops responded, while handing over the ticket, "Tell it to the judge."

Research conducted by The Cape Rock's Vast Spy Network(tm) indicates that following "Speak Out" advice is a bad idea. For instance, one paragraph in the Revised Statutes of Missouri Section 304.015 clearly states, "6. All vehicles in motion upon a highway having two or more lanes of traffic proceeding in the same direction shall be driven in the right-hand lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle or when preparing to make a proper left turn or when otherwise directed by traffic markings, signs or signals."

Instead of researching the issue, Mr. Byfield instead took this Speak Out comment from the Feb. 12th edition of the Southeast Missourian as gopsel: "To all the people who say Missouri has a state law that says drive in the right lane unless you're passing, I just want you to realize that law is only for the interstate... If you're going 20 mph and you're in the left lane, there's nothing the police will do to you. It's your legal right to drive in the left lane."

Of course, now Byfield faces a hefty fine along with an awkward court date in front of a judge that doesn't take too kindly to the "Speak Out Defense".

Our Vast Spy Network(tm) also uncovered RSMo 304.017 which specifies the minimum distance that must be maintained between vehicles on the open road. Tailgating -- which is a far greater problem in Southeast Missouri than red-light running, left-lane hogging, or center-lane merging -- is a Class C misdemeanor in the state. Quick! Somebody tell the highway patrol about this!

We also discovered another hidden gem buried in the section on speed limits (RSMo 304.010). One paragraph says, "The [highway] commission may declare any [local speed limit] ordinance void if it finds that such ordinance is: (1) Not primarily designed to expedite traffic flow; and (2) Primarily designed to produce revenue for the city, town or village which enacted such ordinance..." Quick! Somebody tell MoDOT about this!