Indiana Passes Law Aimed At Slow Drivers Clogging Up The Left Lane

We have all been there, either as the red-faced person gripping the wheel muttering, “Just. Get. Out. Of. The. Left. Lane” or perhaps, as the oblivious driver happily tootling along, unaware at the line of cars backed up in our wake. Lawmakers in Indiana want that to change with a new “slowpoke” law aimed at clearing out that left lane on the highway.

Drivers dawdling in the left lane come July 1 in Indiana will now be facing tickets under a new law that allows police to cite motorists in the left lane if they’re holding up faster cars behind them and don’t move to the right, reports the Indianapolis Star.

Tickets max out at $500, but it’s likely drivers will face much smaller fines for clogging up the passing lane.

“I just want to see the roads used the way they are supposed to be,” says the bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Jud McMillin said. “When I drive, I pass on the left and then get back to the right.”

Such relief for frustrated drivers is believed to be one of only a few “slowpoke” laws in the country that pairs a fine with clogging up the left lane: New Jersey upped its maximum fine for left-lane dawdlers to $300 in 2013, while in Florida, drivers traveling more than 10 mph below the speed limit in that lane can get three points off their licenses and a $60 fine.

Georgia passed a similar law to Indiana’s last July 1, giving officers discretion about when to issue tickets. For example, it’s more likely you’ll get pulled over if you’re holding up a long line of drivers instead of just a few. That’s the approach state police will likely take in Indiana, a police captain noted.

“It’s really just using common sense,” he explained. “We’ve all been on the highway when some driver, or two drivers, are blocking the road and there’s 20, 40, 60 cars behind them and up ahead it is crystal clear for miles.”

And for those drivers with ants in their pants, police are still going to be more likely to crack down on speeders than normal folks in front of them.

“If someone is going 75 (mph) and someone behind them comes up at 90, we are going after the guy going 90,” he said.

There are other scenarios under the law where it’s acceptable to remain in the left lane even if the driver is aware another vehicle is overtaking them from behind — traffic conditions or congestion make it necessary to stay put, bad weather or other obstructions, when exiting a roadway or turning left or when paying a toll or user fee. Emergency personnel or workers involved in road work are also exempt.

Indiana law moves slowpokes out of passing lane [Indianapolis Star]