03/06/2015 02:03 EST | Updated 05/05/2015 05:59 EDT

Left lane drivers not a priority, say B.C. police chiefs

The B.C. Association of Police Chiefs says people who drive in the passing lane are not a priority, despite a recent promise from the province to crack down on "left lane hogs."

B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone is planning new legislation to give more power to police to ticket drivers who aren't using the left lane to pass.

"It did come as a little bit of a surprise to us," said Transit Police Chief Neil Dubord, chair of the association's traffic sub-committee.

"The only drivers we're interested in left-hand lanes are those who drive below the speed limit and impede traffic."

He added that left lane hogs don't apply to Metro Vancouver as much because of congestion throughout the area.

Although police chiefs support the legislation, keeping drivers safe is the association's top priorities with police chiefs wanting more focus on reducing accidents caused by drug-impaired driving and distracted driving.

There are tools to detect if drivers have drugs in their system, and Dubord said distracted driving "is always a concern."

Legislation a result of consultations

Dubord said the proposed legislation came from the province after consultation with stakeholders over the past year.

"I think they've heard the community say they're frustrated with people who use the left-hand lane to drive too slow and that they were paying attention to that consultation," said Dubord.

Dubord said the association is in ongoing discussions with the province about priorities and possible new legislation that will give harsher penalties to those convicted of distracted driving and drug-impaired driving.

To listen to the full interview, click on the audio labelled: B.C. Police Chiefs surprised by proposed left lane hog legislation