Left Lane Law (aka. one of the most stupid new laws of 2004)

Left Lane Law - While traveling on an interstate highway, a vehicle may not be driven in the left lane, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle. This prohibition does not apply to authorized emergency vehicles while engaged in official duties.


Makes me wonder who put the idiots in charge.  Can I get my taxes back for the portion of the road that I’m no longer legally able to drive on?

Comments (42)

  1. David Cumps says:

    Ah.. in my country you always should drive on the most right side of the road, but still everyone keeps driving in the middle lane =/

  2. I think it’s a good law. People sit out in the left lane on the drive because they think it was deeded to them when they got their license and impede the whole flow of traffic.

    If you’re moving along rapidly in the left lane (e.g. faster than traffiic in the rightmost lanes), you’re passing cars, you can be there.

    The point of it is to make things move a little quicker, I think.

  3. Tim Marman says:

    That’s a great law. That’s how it SHOULD be.

    How many times have you sat behind some idiot in a minivan going 40 in the left lane? 🙂

  4. This is a GREAT law. Only jerks drive in the left lane unless passing someone else.

    Passing on the right is far more dangerous than passing on the left. Why? Blind spot.

  5. Paul Wilson says:

    Great law — which state?

  6. Russ C. says:

    It’s not so stupid if you live in the UK 😉

  7. The great state of New Jersey has had this law for years, and unfortunately they don’t enforce it enough.

    DonXML Demsak

  8. Scott says:

    If you only drive in the left hand lane on I-5 through Seattle you end up exiting downtown a couple of times. Not to mention you can never get onto 520 East if you are southbound on I-5.

    I think it’s worse in NY and LA.

    translation: It’s the kind of law that would only work well away from Urban centers.

    I thought that this law : New Teen Drivers

    provided an interesting contrast to the Seattle mantra of ride sharing and mass transit use. In Ill. they WANT teens to clog up the roads with multiple cars. So now, ALL those kids at the party have to drive home drunk alone. 🙂

  9. Jim Martin says:

    This is an awesome law! In Colorado they have this law, it makes perfect since if you think about it. Why does a person need to be in the left most lane if they are not passing anyone? Nothing makes me angrier than a driver in the left lane, blocking me in, because they are driving right next to the car I’m behind in the right hand lane.

  10. Mike Cole says:

    Count 1 more completely supportive of this new law. Get these f**kers out of the fast lane!

  11. bertcord says:

    sounds good to me… you must be one of those guys just chilling in the left lane and wondering why everyone passes you on the right…

  12. Joe says:

    Awesome law. About time this method of using the interstate enters the U.S. consciousness. I learned to drive this way from my father who picked it up in Germany. If this becomes the standard here, perhaps then we could have higher speed limits. Right now, you can’t have faster speed limits because you’ll come up fast on some lollygagger in the left lane.

  13. Rich C says:

    Have to agree with the supporters… "Keep right except when passing!"

  14. bill says:

    I agree this is stupid and unenforcable!

    It almost contradicts the speed limit law.

    If I’m traveling at the speed limit of 65 MPH and the car in front of me is traveling at 60 MPH, is a quarter mile enough distanct to safely pass without exceeding the speed limit?

  15. Kent says:

    Finally. If I see one more "self-deputized Sheriff" try to dictate the speed of everyone else by blocking the left lane by maintaining a speed they determine to be best I’m going to freak.

    It’ll also give the police a way of gaining access to more high speed drivers. Catch me if you can…

    OTOH, do you think the police will choose to pull over left lane blockers or speeders?

  16. I always keep right except when passing, making ro says:

    You’re legally able to drive in the left lane if you’re passing.

    Your question could be carried to absurdity: you cannot drive on the shoulder, or the wrong way, etc. You won’t get a tax refund for that, sorry.

    Will you pay me for the highway that you won’t let me use because you’re cruising in the left lane and blocking my access to it?

    West Virginia has such a law. Illinois just passed it, I don’t know if that’s the one that you’re referring do.

  17. >OTOH, do you think the police will choose to

    >pull over left lane blockers or speeders?

    My understanding here in Chicago was that cops are given the perogative to pull over anybody who is obviously holding up left lane traffic. I think this is pretty obvious – anybody with cars stacking behind them.

  18. Irony of ironies … a Google search of Left Lane Law puts this blog entry ahead of the actual law as listed by the State of Illinois.

  19. jlund says:

    It is a wonderful way to drive. I had a wonderful vacation driving all over europe (mainly Austria, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic). This is the way they drive. Traffic congestion is almost non-existant save city centers.

    Residing in California where this is on the books, but never enforced. Once you drive with sane drivers, you never want to drive in CA again…

  20. TK says:

    PA was like that years ago and they had signs that stated KEEP RIGHT EXCEPT TO PASS. They then allowed

    the mentally challenged to drive in any lane and allowed passing on the right. Now they have changed it back but have not installed signs. It is our responsibility to educate the mentally challenged drivers now. Talk to them as you pass them on the right. That is if you are able to pass on the right. You may have a genuine slow driver doing the correct thing by driving in the right lane. What do you have? Gridlock!!!!! The law knows that if everyone goes the exact speed limit there is gridlock. That is why they do not enforce speed laws until a driver is “x” amount over the limit. I love this law although I think they should reinstall the signs. I would agree with giving back your taxes as long as you keep out of either lane. I’ve encountered drivers like you! There should be more stringent procedures to keep people like you off OUR roads! I LOVE this site!

  21. Grant Himes says:

    The law exists to keep people safe. Typically, traffic merging onto the highway, which is moving slowly and attempting to gain speed, comes from the right side of the highway.

    Slow traffic blocking the left lane forces faster moving traffic to pass on the right, where it often mixes with the much slower moving merging traffic, creating dangerous situations.

    It is not your right simply because you pay taxes to block traffic that belongs in the left lane.

  22. Sheydalanti Acci says:

    i think hat this is the stupidist law ever. with the exception of a few others! why should we drive on the right lane and suffer through sow drivers and then get another ticket for tailing them, when they’re driving to pass on the left lane they’re not going to let you pass anyway, so who really cares! i mean seriously, does anyone really care for this ;aw? do you think that law officials really care? i wish i could talk to the idiot] who makes these laws!!!!!

  23. PH says:

    Obviously whoever believes this is a stupid law has not driven on an American interstate or is completely oblivious to those other drivers around him. Answer this for me. What is wrong with that empty right lane. Does it have cudies? If you don’t want to drive the speed limit or there is someone behind you..GET OVER! Become an pro-active driver, move over, pull out to pass and move over again (oh and did I say use your mirror and turn signal). It is amazing how fun driving can be when you put down the phone and the supersized soda, take your car out of cruise control and actually drive! This law is good…we are moving in the right direction.

  24. Get over it! says:

    Although I agree with only passing on the left as the left lane law dictates (should we really need a law for this?), as I do that on a regular basis, unfortunately it is also directly contradicts the maximum speed limit law (hence the use of the terms Maximum and Limit, check the dictionary) when this law is applied to those who drive in that lane at or above the speed limit and also the direct reason for this discussion. For those that can’t reach the speed limit, you are excluded from this discussion because you can’t find you gas pedal. This leads to only one correct result, get rid of the Maximum Speed limit laws and change the signs and/or law to state a "Differential Speed" limit for those going XX MPH faster or slower than "normal" traffic with an included minimum speed. Thats should be moving even better in the right direction… right.

    Can any of you find a problem with utopian result? How many of you have a differential speedometer in you car, can I see a raise of hands or is that being sarcastic! How many of you can correctly determine the difference in speed between another car and yourself without doing the algebra required in your head? That’s right… maybe 1% of the population, especially traveling at 70 or 80. You definitely will have figured it out by the time you pull up behind the slower moving vehicle though…try it some time…you can guess, but you would be wrong without a lot of practice. And at my last look, there are no driving classes that teach this. So with this utopian law, not only do you not have a legitamate speed limit to enforce, you have no way to know if you are in compliance with it as a driver (unless you slow down and check it every once and a while, which you won’t do). So after having said all that….the left lane law is not "the most stupid new law". It just contradicts other laws. Most of the posts in this thread talk about the speed limit and the left lane law and you can’t talk about it without contradiction.

    Until somebody crafts a good compromise between the two laws and passes it into law (key point there..read it again. If you don’t know how to go about changing the law..get out you old high school american studies books!)…good or bad, fast drivers and slow drivers, this will never be settled. Kind of like a tax loop hole. You will always have people that say that the most important of the two is the speed limit, others will take the other side. So quit bitching about it and change the law or go home and bitch to the TV or your dog or your cat or who ever. Be a courteous driver and quit yelling, flipping people off, flashing your lights, tailgaiting, honking your horn or blocking traffic because you aren’t getting your way, like a little three year old and act civilized about it. Let the police make that determination, don’t be a speed vigalante either. Don’t try and stop speeders from using left lane, and don’t go off on people who won’t break the speed limit because it’s also a law.

  25. Toph says:

    This law is a great law. People moving at an exessive speed of that posted will obviously be passing vehicles. This is good because it keeps the idiot soccer moms and pussy buisnessmen from driving slow in the left lane

  26. wozerd says:

    I remember when the law WAS "keep right except to pass" . I have heard from a Michigan State trooper that some guy was ticketed in 1979 for impeding traffic in the left lane, fought it and won. Hence the new law "slower traffic keep to right". Well, if the SPEED NAZI’s want to control my driving habits, then I’ll hold them responsible for my habit of running them off the road. I want a bumper sticker that says: "ever wonder WHAT causes road rage?". I actually should be happy with the way it is. I get the right lane to myself while the Speed Nazi’s hold up a line of cars behind them in the left lane. Plus, the trucks and really slow drivers hog the center lanes (I say, the truckers should run over a couple hundred idiots that cant figure out how to get on the e-way– eventually they will learn or, be reduced in number to a point that it won’t matter!).

    I bet the people that feel the need to play policeman and control speeders by blocking traffic flow are the same people that don’t like this common sense law.

  27. wozerd says:

    one more thing. for the morons that argue that this law would require them to break the speed limit law, get out of your myopic black and white world! Any cop that gives you a ticket for anything less than 10 over would be laughed out of court and immediately executed by his fellow officers. If you don’t believe me– ask them! Between the 7.5% of the drivers ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED of breaking the law (and driving) and the other 7.5% that ignore it totally (both having absolutely no concept of courtesy), the rest of us suffer. By the way– read up on the concept of the 85th percentile concept.

  28. In the US, the left lane is for passing, that is the best way to keep highway travel organized. When drivers cruise in the passing lane, they force other drivers to swerve and pass through multiple lanes. Very Unsafe.

    Report and track vehicles that you find in the passing lane at http://www.leftlanedicks.com -also see if you’ve been reported!

  29. PaulMD says:

    Great Law!! Should be enacted in Ohio. As noted above, the problem is calling it the "High Speed Lane" instead of the "Passing Lane". Illinois law enforcement has very properly stated, "Leave speed enforcement to us. It’s not the province of the ordinary citizen to enforce speed laws."

    People blocking the Passing Lane force a "lane inversion", that is, they force the public to use the travel (right) lane for passing. In addition, they can make it impossible to take your intended exit, as vehicles stack up in both lanes and those wishing to exit are marooned in the left lane long after they intended to get over to the right.

    When I become emperor of ohio, the law will read, "If you’re not exceeding the speed of the vehicle on your right at the gait of an adult walk, you belong behind that vehicle."

  30. PaulMD says:

    p.s. The Ohio law will further state, "Any moron who needlessly steps on his/her brakes for no apparent reason more than twice in a mile shall be guilty of reporting a false alarm to vehicles following, and shall be required to attend a three day retraining program followed by retesting. Mopes who fail retesting shall have odometer-connected brakes installed which activate above 50 mph, and which shall be automatically disabled after the second application in less than a mile, until a full mile has elapsed since the first application."

  31. Harvey LeCato says:

    ———portion of the highway you’re no longer able to drive on????

    Please ! ! ! A typical immature response. You must be one of the people that sits out in this lane without passing anyone. Just like the tour bus I saw last week that moved from the middle lane to the left lane—WHEN THERE WERE NO CARS IN FRONT OF HIM—-IN ANY OF THE LANES. This law is a great idea, in theory, since it will clear all those people from clogging the passing lane, and let the rest of us drive.

  32. DaveO says:

    The whole idea behind the law is too keep people from blocking the passing lane. And, yes indeed, that is the name for the left or inside lane. It’s yet another unfortunate response to an uncicivil civilzation where the plaintive chant is "MINE! MINE! MINE!" and people don’t bother to learn the rules of the road. Traveling between Colorado Springs and Denver you’re pretty much guaranteed to find a couple of people doing 60 or 65 in a 75 zone while in the passing lane.

  33. Mel A says:

    I don’t understand why people think the law is stupid. It should be obvious. If people knew how to drive and the reason there is a lwft or passing lane is for just that. Passing. Paying taxes does give one the right to do as you please. There are rules of the road, however few seem to obey them.

  34. Jose says:

    Driving on the right is common sense and there is not need to a make law about it. Should we be paying for the legislature to convene and pass a law about brushing your teeth? I think there are way too many laws, they are spelling every little thing that can happen in life taking away from the judiciary the right to think. Rather there should be one single law saying that if you impede traffic in any way, you get in trouble and let the courts decide case by case based on jurisprudence.

  35. Bruce says:

    Speed limit? I don’t need no stinking speed limit! The "left lane is mine for speeding" mentality is the source of rage anyway. My obseration is that the left lane users are not coming up on "below the limit users", rather they are trying to overtake other speeders who are not speeding as fast as they are.

  36. PaulMD says:

    Jose –

    You appear to think that a couple of legislative debates followed by enactment of a law is high cost, while flooding the courts with an enormous number of contested cases followed by appeals, etc., costs nothing. C’mon. How long would you want to wait for your legitimate case to be heard while the courts screw around with thousands of left lane blockers? How many judges are you willing to pay for?

    This is simple!! Make a rule, and the Ref makes the call.

  37. Gail says:

    This law is meant to be used as a passing other drivers rule, not for the "lead foot" speeders to hog it and run the slower tnan average drivers off the road! Just because this law has been put in place by the state of Illinois, doesn’t mean that the "self justified" speeders can play police patrol by flashing their lights and tailgating the driver in front of them. That will only lead to more accidents and road rage.

  38. Steve says:

    There was a brilliant Far Side cartoon once. It showed the devil in hell leading people into 3 different doors. Door #1 had a sign on it that said "Murderers". Door #2 had a sign saying "Kidnappers". Door #3 had a sign saying "People who drive slow in the fast lane". Enough said.

  39. joe schmoe says:

    First, this is a SAFETY law, not related in any way to speed limits. There are 30% more blind spots on the right side of a vehicle; merging traffic on the right should not have to dodge faster moving vehicles because some dimwit decided to go for a sunday drive in the left lane; Doctors, plainclothes police sometimes need to go faster than the speed limit due to some life threatening emergency; etc.

    Next time you validate your existence by blocking traffic in the left lane, think about the pregnant mother who loses her child because you’re holding the doctor hostage on the highway, asshole.

  40. Jim says:

    It’s a great law….That’s the way it is supposed to be here in Oregon but you still see campers from Washington riding in the fast lane blocking the traffic. Trying blocking the left lane in Europe…you’ll get pushed off the road. Needs more enforcement by the police to keep the left lane clear for passing only. It’s a great law if enforced.

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