Four states devise new left lane use rules

June 18, 2019

Keith Goble


Revisions to left-lane use rules continue to be made at statehouses around the country. Below is a roundup of some notable efforts to address lingering in the passing lane.

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.

In an effort to reduce incidents of road rage, a bill on Gov. Kay Ivey’s desk would amend the state’s left-lane use rule.

Alabama law already prohibits drivers from hanging out in the far left lane.

HB212 would revise the rule to clarify while traveling on an interstate it is against the law to stay left more than 1½ miles without completely passing another vehicle. Certain exceptions would apply, such as while driving through a work zone or during heavy traffic congestion.

Warning citations would be issued for the first 60 days.

A rule already exists in Delaware to prohibit driving in the left lane below the posted speed.

Noting that slower traffic in the passing lane continues to generate complaints, a Senate measure approved by both statehouse chambers requests the State Police and state Department of Transportation look into the issue of slower traffic in the left lane. Senate Concurrent Resolution 7 requests the agencies to offer recommendations to address the issue.

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

A new rule adopted in Minnesota calls for penalizing lollygaggers in the far left lane of highways.

Minnesota law already requires any vehicle moving at less than the normal speed of traffic to stay to the right. Violators could be fined $50.

Previously HF6, the new law sets the fine at $125 for failure to allow another vehicle to pass.

“We’ve all been stuck behind slow moving drivers hogging the left lane, even though that lane is only supposed to be used for passing,” Sen. John Jasinski, R-Faribault, said in previous remarks. “Our commutes are already hard enough, it’s time to ease some stress by adding Minnesota to the list of states that penalizes left-lane drivers.”

The new rule takes effect on Aug. 1.

Active legislation underway at the Pennsylvania statehouse would revise the state’s lane use rule to make it an offense to hang out in the far left lane.

HB1376 specifies that a citation could be issued for any driver who continuously operates their vehicle in the left lane and impedes the flow of traffic on a limited-access highway.

The bill is in the House Transportation Committee.