Florida latest state to pursue left lane revision

December 1, 2021

Keith Goble

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As states around the country revise their rules on left lane use, pursuit underway in the Florida Legislature would do the same.

Since 2014, Florida law prohibits travelers from driving too slow in the left lane of a multilane highway if they “reasonably should know” they are begin overtaken by another vehicle. Drivers traveling the speed limit also are required to yield to vehicles exceeding the posted speed limit.

Violators face $161 fines. Florida licensed drivers also face up to three points being added to their license.

Revision pursued

Two bills filed at the statehouse for consideration during the 2022 regular session would revise the state’s left lane rule.

Specifically, the identical House and Senate bills would prohibit left lane use unless overtaking and passing another vehicle or preparing to turn left on roadways with two or more lanes in the same direction with a speed limit of at least 65 mph.

Most notably, the specification about driving speed would be eliminated.

The bills are HB647 and SB960.

Action taken elsewhere

States around the country this year have taken action to bolster rules for left lane use.

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.

Oklahoma

As of Nov. 1, a new Oklahoma law is intended to clarify the state’s left lane rule.

State statute has limited left lane use on roadways with at least two lanes of traffic in the same direction. Statute specifies that drivers are required to stay to the right unless passing or preparing to turn left, or for safety measures.

The revision to statute specifies that vehicles would be in violation of the law when traveling on highways. HB2054 states that county roads that are not part of the interstate or turnpike system are to be excluded.

Arkansas

Across the state line in Arkansas, a rule in place since early August also addresses left lane use.

The new law states that left lane travel is only permitted when passing or overtaking another vehicle. Other exceptions include preparing to turn left, or when other lanes are closed or unusable.

Additionally, the Arkansas State Police points out the law requires all drivers to travel below the posted speed, even when passing.

South Carolina

Another state to revise its left lane rule is South Carolina.

State law has required any vehicle moving at less than the normal speed of traffic to stay to the right. Exceptions to the lane rule are made for situations that include preparing to turn or to overtake and pass another vehicle.

The new rule applies to situations on highways with at least two lanes when a vehicle is traveling behind a slower-moving vehicle. Fines are limited to $25.

Commercial drivers are exempt from the rule when they are unable to move into the right lane safely due to other vehicles overtaking or passing the truck on the right or when a truck’s driver is unable to move into the right lane safely due to a highway grade.

Alabama

Also in effect in Alabama is a revision to the state’s left lane rule.

State law prohibits drivers from hanging out in the far-left lane. A 2019 revision to the rule clarified that while traveling on an interstate it is against the law to stay left more than 1.5 miles without completely passing another vehicle. Certain exceptions apply, such as while driving through a work zone or during heavy traffic congestion.

The new law focuses on notifications for the public about the lane use rules. LL

More Land Line coverage of news from Florida.

 

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.