Left-lane restrictions rejected in Minnesota

| Thursday, June 16, 2005

Despite several efforts in the Minnesota Legislature to keep drivers from lingering in the left lane on the state’s highways, none managed to win approval before lawmakers wrapped up their work for the year.

A handful of bills were introduced this year to reserve the left lane of all multilane roadways, including freeways and expressways, for drivers passing other vehicles.

Each measure would have exempted drivers in the left lane to turn or exit, avoid emergency vehicles, road hazards or if they are directed by law enforcement.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation would have been responsible for posting signs to alert drivers to the restriction. A bill offered by Sen. Dick Day, R-Owatonna, also would have required the agency to buy radio ads to remind drivers about the dangers of aggressive driving and to stay in the right lane if not passing.

Bills offered by Sen. Chuck Wiger, DFL-North St. Paul, Rep. Leon Lillie, DFL-North St. Paul, and Rep. Nora Slawik, DFL-Maplewood, didn’t include a requirement to do public service announcements.

The bills all remained in their respective committees at the close of the session, effectively killing them for the year.

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