Left-lane restrictions sought in Minnesota

| 2/16/2005

Minnesota’ top Senate Republican is pushing an effort to keep drivers from lingering in the left lane.

The bill, introduced Feb .14 by Senate Minority Leader Dick Day of Owatonna, would reserve the left lane of all multilane roadways, including freeways and expressways, for drivers passing other vehicles.

SF977 would exempt drivers who are in the left lane to turn or exit, avoid emergency vehicles, avoid road hazards or if they are directed there by law enforcement.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation would be responsible for posting signs to alert drivers to the restriction. The agency also would be required to do radio ads to remind drivers about the dangers of aggressive driving and to stay in the right lane if not passing.

“We can’t be responsible for the guy who wants to exceed the speed limit,” Day wrote in a proposed radio script. “Just get out of his way, and let the highway patrol worry about him.”

The bill is in the Senate Transportation Committee.

Sen. Chuck Wiger, DFL-North St. Paul, has introduced similar legislation. SF6 doesn’t include a requirement to do public service announcements. Wiger’s bill is also in the Senate Transportation Committee.