Indiana, South Carolina bills address left lane use

January 13, 2021

Keith Goble

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Travel in the left lane is a point of concern for professional drivers and others traveling on highways across the country. Legislators at multiple statehouses have introduced bills that are intended to address the continuing safety concern.

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.

Indiana

One Indiana bill would revise the state’s left lane driving rule for travel on rural interstates.

The Hoosier State now requires drivers traveling on multilane roads to move right when they should “reasonably know” another vehicle is trying to pass. Violators face up to $500 fines.

The state’s Legislative Services Agency reports in the most recent fiscal year there were 80 convictions statewide for failing to yield to a passing vehicle.

Sponsored by Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette, SB211 would amend statute and apply lane use restrictions solely on highways with a posted speed limit at least 65 mph.

Specifically, continuous driving in the passing lane would be forbidden. Violators would face up to $10,000 fines. Exceptions would apply.

Revenue from violations would be routed to the state’s general fund.

SB211 awaits possible consideration in the Senate Homeland Security and Transportation Committee.

South Carolina

Multiple South Carolina bills also address concerns about left lane use on the state’s roadways.

State law requires 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.

Violators face fines up to $100.

Republican Reps. Jay West of Anderson, Murrell Smith Jr. of Sumter, and Gary Simrill of York, are behind a bill that is intended to further discourage slowpokes hanging out in the far left lane of highways.

Bill sponsors say the deterrent is not enough to discourage the behavior.

Their bill, H3011, would double the fine amount to $200 and attach a two-point violation for improper driving in the left lane.

An exception would be made for commercial driver’s license holders. Truck drivers found in violation would face $50 fines. No points would be assessed against his or her driving record.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation also would be responsible for posting signs along interstates to alert travelers of the law.

An estimated 128 signs would be installed along the state’s interstates at a cost of $24,000, according to a fiscal impact statement.

A second bill focuses on lane use along interstates.

Sponsored by Senate President Harvey Peeler, R-Gaffney, S434 would require drivers to move to the right when another vehicle is attempting to overtake the vehicle.

Warnings would be issued for the first 90 days after enactment. Afterward, violators would face $25 fines.

S434 is in the Senate Transportation Committee. H3011 is in the House Education and Public Works Committee. LL

More Land Line coverage of news from Indiana and South Carolina is available.

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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.