Grace period ending for Colorado left-lane laggards

| 12/29/2004

Drivers in Colorado will soon start getting fined for using the left lane on the state’s highways for anything but passing.

Starting Jan. 1, troopers will stop giving warnings to drivers and start issuing $35 tickets to left-lane laggards, plus they will tack three points on to their licenses.

A 6-month-old-law requires the left lane to be used only for passing on any of Colorado’s multilane highways where the speed limit is 65 mph or faster. Lawmakers passed the bill early this year, hoping to ease traffic woes and cut down on road rage.

“Over the last few years, we’ve seen more and more drivers in that left-hand lane, and it’s becoming increasingly dangerous,” state Rep. Alice Madden, D-Boulder, recently told Denver’s KUSA TV. The new law “basically tells people, ‘You drive in the right-hand lane, you go into the left lane to pass and then, if possible, you get back over as soon as you can.”

The only exceptions would be for left turns – if permitted – or if the volume of traffic does not allow a vehicle to merge safely back into a nonpassing lane.

The Colorado Department of Transportation has posted about 40 signs around the state, reminding travelers to “Keep right expect to pass.” Another 30 sings are planned.