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Seattle Takes Aim at 'Lane Jumpers'
Seattle, Washington police are ticketing drivers who cut in line during heavy traffic.

Catching lane jumpers
Seattle police have issued between 500 and 1,000 tickets, worth $101 each, to drivers who illegally cross a solid white line to get ahead of fellow motorists who are stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Apparently, the police get a rare "thumbs up" for this kind of enforcement. It is not clear that any other jurisdiction in the country issues tickets specifically for lane jumping. Just outside Washington, D.C., on I-395, Virginia police regularly nab lane jumpers who regularly take a short ride on the shoulder to cut ahead of traffic, but they're ticketed for driving on the shoulder.

Bill Beatty blames the problem on bad traffic design in comments to the Seattle Times. "I don't think they're cheaters," he said. "All of a sudden, the lane you're going to merge into is full of cars. You can't go back to the end of the queue, like at a bank. Once you've missed it, you're screwed; they won't let you in."

Article Excerpt:
Some lane jumpers claim they're making the roadways more efficient by going around the line. That way, cars utilize two lanes instead of one. That theory doesn't fly, according to Chris Barrett, a Virginia Tech scientist who pioneered the use of advanced mathematics to model traffic movements. Whenever a lane jumper forces others to hit the brakes, that causes a "deceleration wave" moving rearward, disrupting the entire flow, he explained. "It might be OK for him, but it's going to be worse for everyone else," Barrett said.
Source: Hey, no cutting in line! (Seattle Times, 3/1/2005)

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