Delaware bill says ‘stay to the right’

October 7, 2019

Keith Goble

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An ongoing effort at the Delaware statehouse would revise the state’s left lane use rule. State law now specifies that vehicles traveling below the posted speed limit must stay to the right. Violators face fines starting at $25.

Sponsored by Sen. Bryan Townsend, D-Newark, one bill would include a requirement that all traffic stay to the right. Exceptions would be made for using the left lane to pass, turn or exit a highway.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the National Motorists Association say that blocking the left lane, whether intentional or not, results in reduced road safety and efficiency.

Legislative action

Townsend’s bill follows action taken at the statehouse earlier this year to address concerns about left lane use.

The Legislature approved a resolution to request the state police and the Delaware Department of Transportation look into the issue of slower traffic in the left lane. The agencies were requested to offer recommendations to address the issue.

Recommendations could include additional restrictions on left lane use and additional or different signs.

Truck lane restriction

One provision in the bill singles out large trucks. Specifically, trucks weighing at least 10,000 pounds would be prohibited from using the left lane along a stretch of state Route 1 except to pass, turn or exit a highway.

The revision would only apply to a 50-mile stretch of highway between Interstate 95 and the area south of Dover.

Violators would face fines up to $100. Repeat offenders would face up to $200 fines.

“The bill addresses the problem of operators of vehicles driving below the designated speed limit in the left-hand lane of state Route 1 and causing congestion thereon,” Townsend wrote about the bill.

The bill, SB185, awaits consideration in the Senate Transportation Committee once the Legislature reconvenes in January.

Keith Goble

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.