Tennessee law now in effect expands ‘slowpoke’ rule

July 2, 2020

Keith Goble


Concern about lane use in Tennessee spurred the state legislature this year to take action on the issue. As a result, effective July 1 is a revision to the state’s left lane law.

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.

Tennessee law has prohibited drivers from hanging out in the far left lane on interstates and highways with three or more lanes in each direction. Violators face $50 fines.

The revision now in effect expands the left lane rule to apply on roads with two or more lanes.

Rep. John Mark Windle, D-Livingston, sponsored the bill in the House. Windle told his fellow lawmakers he introduced the bill to benefit commercial drivers.

“This bill simply makes Tennessee’s highways safer for the men and women who get up every morning and go to work driving a truck on our highways,” Windle said during House floor discussion. “It’s the very least we can do to try to make it safer for the professionals that haul our food, fuel, and other things for our families.”

Critics questioned whether the expanded ticketing authority would be used to “pick on” motorists.

Windle reiterated the intention of the new left lane use law is to protect professional drivers.

Interstate Driver License Compact

Another new law now in effect also is intended to improve safety on the state’s roadways.

The new law adds Tennessee to the list of 46 states in the Interstate Driver License Compact. The compact is used by states to exchange information about traffic violations and license suspensions by out-of-state residents.

As of Wednesday, the state of Tennessee is required to report severe driving infraction convictions by out-of-state residents to their home state.

Convictions covered in the law include manslaughter, negligent homicide, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The licensing authority in the offender’s home state is prohibited from issuing a license if the person has been suspended or revoked in a compact party state. The restriction would be in place until the period of termination has expired.

More Land Line coverage of news from Tennessee is available.

J.J. Keller
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.