Oklahoma becomes latest state to limit traffic in left lanes

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Thursday, November 09, 2017

The rule for left lane use in Oklahoma has changed. The Sooner State is the latest state to act to discourage drivers from hanging out in the passing lane.

Oklahoma already limits left lane use on highways with at least two lanes of traffic in the same direction. Travel in the passing lane, however, is permitted as long as the driver is not impeding traffic.

As of Nov. 1, state law specifies that drivers are required to stay to the right unless passing or preparing to turn left or for safety measures.

The state has erected more than 200 signs notifying travelers “slower traffic keep right” and warning them not to “impede the left lane.”

Violators face $235 fines.

Changes in other states
Oklahoma is not the only state this year to take action to change left lane rules.

A Virginia law in place since July 1 is also intended to deter driving in the far left lane.

The law has required any vehicle to stay out of the left lane except when passing other traffic.

The maximum fine has been set at $250. Statutory fines for those caught using the left lane for more than passing, however, was described as “vague” by proponents of the change.

The new law sets a mandatory minimum $100 fine.

Also in effect since the first of July is a Nevada law to limit left lane use on highways with at least two lanes of traffic in the same direction.

Nevada law already prohibits slow driving in the left lane. A minimum speed is also in place.

The new law applies to any vehicle holding back traffic behind them on multilane highways. First-time offenders will face $50 fines. Subsequent violations would result in higher fine amounts.

Since Oct. 1 in Montana vehicles traveling below the posted speed are required to stay to the right.

Rep. Shane Morigeau, D-Missoula, has said the change is intended to reduce road rage.

Although existing state law addresses left lane use, Morigeau previously told state lawmakers that law enforcement in certain counties had not ticketed violators because of uncertainty about wording in the rule.

The new law clarifies what is and is not permissible when using the left lane.

Exceptions to the lane rule would be made for situations that include traveling on a roadway – not including interstates – within a city or town.



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