No lollygagging in the Left Lane, Please! Legislative Update on Lane Courtesy Laws

June is Lane Courtesy Month and many state legislatures are taking on the problem of drivers who impede traffic by camping out in the left lane.  The NMA long ago established June as the spotlight month for lane courtesy to raise awareness that keeping right to allow faster traffic to pass is one of the most important principles that should be ingrained within a driving culture.

While most states have lane courtesy/keep right laws, few actually enforce them. Our goal with Lane Courtesy Month is to provide educational information on the safety benefits of using the left lane for passing and the right lane for going with the general flow of traffic.

To that end, and with the generous help of K40 Electronics, we are giving away a K40 RLS2 Radar/Laser Detector in a random drawing from among those who respond to our Sweepstakes Survey.  For more details about this contest, click on the Lane Courtesy Month Sweepstakes Survey.

In March, PBS’s News Hour posted this story on slowpoke laws that is relevant to our mission of education on lane courtesy. Since that time, lawmakers in ten states have taken on the task of improving lane courtesy laws. See if your state is on the list.

Maryland
Bill Number: HB 1451
Status: Passed the house, did not pass out of committee in the senate before the end of the session.
Details: Providing that, on a roadway that has three or more lanes for traffic moving in the same direction with a posted maximum speed limit of 55 miles per hour or more, the far left lane may be used only for the overtaking and passing of another vehicle in a specified manner and under specified circumstances; and establishing that the penalty for a violation of the Act for a first offense is $75, for a second offense is $150, and for a third or subsequent offense is $250.
Article from the Frederick-News Post
Washington Post

Michigan
Bill Number: HB 4062
Status: Introduced in January and is languishing in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Details: The bill tries to clarify current state law and exceptions to the law.  Primary clarification: Upon a roadway having 2 or more lanes for travel in one direction, the driver of a vehicle in the extreme left-hand lane shall not continue to operate his or her vehicle in that lane if he or she knows or reasonably should know that he or she is being overtaken in that lane from the rear by a vehicle traveling at a 22 higher rate of speed.

Montana
Bill Number: HB 415
Status: Signed by Governor Steve Bullock in April: Goes into Law, October 1, 2017. Clarifies what is and is not permissible when using the left lane.
Details: Clarified exceptions for left hand driving under current law.
Article from the Missoulian

Nevada
Bill Number: AB 334
Status: Passed both the House and Senate. Awaits Governor Sandoval’s signature.
Details:  Prohibits motorists from driving under the speed limit in the left lane. Outlines exceptions and penalties.  Lawmakers would like to introduce lane courtesy back into driver’s education and the driver’s exam. Also, repeat offenders would need to retake driver’s education.
Article form Las Vegas Review-Journal

New York
Bill Number: S 3860
Status: Stuck in the Senate Transportation Committee.
Details: Relates to driving slow in a passing lane; any person who is not overtaking or passing a vehicle or driving five miles or more under the designated speed limit shall be subject to a fine of up to seventy-five dollars.

North Carolina
Bill: SB 303
Status: Stuck in the Senate Transportation Committee.
Details: Currently state law does not spell out specific penalties for left lane driving.  Here is the major change:
A person who violates this subsection is guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine of two 20 hundred dollars ($200.00). For purposes of this subsection, a person is “impeding the steady 21 flow of traffic” if the person knows or reasonably should know that he or she is being overtaken 22 from the rear by a vehicle traveling at a higher rate of speed.
Article from the Phoenixville Patch

Oklahoma
Bill: HB 2312
Status: Signed by Governor Fallin in May and will go into law November 1, 2017.
Details: This is the only part of the law that changed:
Upon a roadway which is divided into four or more lanes, a vehicle shall not be driven in the left lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle; provided, however, this paragraph shall not prohibit driving in the left lane when traffic conditions flow, or road configuration, such as the potential of merging traffic, require the use of the left lane to maintain safe traffic conditions.
Article from THE OKLAHOMAN

Oregon
Bill:  SB 532
Status: Passed by the senate in March, Work Session planned for in the House Transportation Policy Committee May 31, 2017.
Details:  Bill would prohibit all drivers from using the left lane except to pass. If enacted, would only be enforced on highways with two or more lanes in the same direction and a speed limit at or above 55 mph.
Article from Central Oregon Newspaper The Bulletin

Rhode Island
Bill Number: H 5398
Status: Passed the house on May 25, 2017 and has now gone to the senate.
Details: Clarifies existing laws to any multi-lane, limited access highway, the extreme left-hand lane shall be reserved for passing slower vehicles only, and occupation of that lane when not passing shall be a violation.
WCVB Channel 5 Report

Virginia
Bill Number:  HB 2201 
Status: Signed by Governor
Details: Failure to drive on right side of highways or observe traffic lanes; penalties. Sets the fine for failing to drive on the right side of highways or failing to observe traffic lanes at $100. Under current law, any such failure is punishable by a fine of no more than $250.
WSET Channel 13 Report

Whether or not you take our online Lane Courtesy Month Sweepstakes Survey to earn a chance to win the K40 radar/laser detector, help us spread the word about the value of letting faster traffic pass on the left:

·   With less tailgating and fewer forced lane changes, you’re less likely to be in an accident.
·   Your fuel economy will improve with fewer incidents of braking/accelerating.
·   Yielding to faster traffic will help relieve congestion which will get you to your destination quicker.
·   Keeping right to let overtaking traffic pass is the law in most states.

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