The system works best when people aren't hogging the left lane. Every state has some law on the books restricting use of the left lane.
Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes : Online Sunshine
In 29 states shown in yellow , the law says any car that's moving slower than the "normal speed of traffic" should be in the right lane — so even if it's going at the speed limit, a car that's not moving as fast as the other cars around shouldn't be in the left lane. Georgia has increased the penalty for violating this law to a misdemeanor. In 11 states shown in green , the laws are even stricter — specifically saying the left lane is only for turning or passing.
Most of the remaining states say cars need to get over if they're blocking traffic that wants to pass, or if they're traveling slower than the speed limit. Traditionally, these laws have seldom been enforced, and were often just used as a legal excuse for police to pull people over for unrelated reasons.
There's a certain rationale for these laws and enforcement campaigns. When drivers travel in the left lane, it makes the road more congested and probably more dangerous for all parties involved. Research shows that many traffic jams result from a surprisingly small number of slow cars obstructing traffic, with their effects rippling outward.
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A small buildup of cars that can't pass because someone is driving slowly in the left — right next to another car traveling slowly in the right — is the exact type of scenario that can start this cascade of traffic. There is evidence that slowing down and changing lanes is more dangerous than speeding.
Impeding statutes were only enforceable when a vehicle was traveling below the posted or prima facie speed limit.
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- Using passing lanes.
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New approaches to driving safety, combined with higher posted speed limits, now simplify the issue and allow law enforcement to take appropriate enforcement action to enhance the flow of traffic. The new approach acknowledges that by mitigating traffic-flow conflicts caused by slower-moving drivers, accidents resulting from the confluence of slow driving and aggressive driving would likely be reduced. If a motorist is stopped by a Colorado State Trooper for violating the Left Lane Law, the driver may receive a citation.
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- New left lane law goes into effect July 1?
If the citation is issued by a state trooper, the points can be reduced to two points if the penalty is mailed in within 20 days. A growing number of states now require drivers in the left lane to move to the right, even if they are driving at or exceeding the speed limit.
The speed of their vehicle is irrelevant. There is a duty to keep right and use the left lane for passing only.
New left lane law goes into effect July 1
One issue which becomes problematical with the new laws is reflected by the concern of fleet owners and trucking associations, who argue that truck drivers should be able to pass slower moving wheelers, but it can take a while because their rigs can be electronically limited to a certain speed.
View this article written by Gary Wickert on speed limiters, how they work, and federal laws requiring Electronic Control Modules ECM on certain trucks. Regardless of your opinion of the Left Lane Laws, most states have them, and aggressive lawyers looking for additional target defendants will make use of them where appropriate. Having slow drivers in all lanes can cause faster drivers to slow down and weave back and forth to change lanes, increasing the possibility of accidents.
Drivers are most at risk of accidents when changing lanes. When some drivers are going slow in the left lane, and the right lane, then people who want to move faster through traffic must zigzag back and forth to maintain their driving pace, even if it exceeds the speed limit.
They must change lanes looking alternatively over both shoulders, increasing the potential for accidents. Cultural differences also play a role here, as Europeans driving in the U. Studies have shown that 98 percent of drivers exceed the speed limit. There are stretches of road in Texas where the speed limit is 85 mph. In Nevada , the speed limit is 80 mph.
As a result, we have a proliferation of laws which regulate the use of the left passing lane. Speed limits are going up on interstates and highways because motorists are driving faster on them. Speed limits are increased to help decrease unsafe speed variations among the fastest and slowest drivers. Because it indicates "normal speed" instead of saying "speed limit" a driver going above the speed limit but slower than most traffic is still in the wrong. The states indicated in green dictate that the left lane should be used exclusively for passing or turning left, though most of these limit enforcement to multi-lane highways.
The simplest and best laws simply state drivers in the left lane must always yield to faster traffic regardless of the passing car's speed or other factors. Unfortunately, most of these laws are only enforced as a way of pulling over suspicious vehicles or passengers.