Although most left-lane laws will make
truckers shake their heads in disgust, a relatively new law in
has some in the
trucking industry nodding in agreement.
Earlier this week, the Illinois State Police
released a report showing the number of tickets issued since the state’s
left-lane law went into effect Jan. 1, 2004. According to the report, 170
citations – each of which carries a fine of $75 – and more than 2,500 warnings
were given to drivers who violated the law.
Unlike other left-lane laws – which often
place restrictions only on trucks, or require drivers to always operate in the
right lane at all times –
’ statute allows all motorists to drive in both lanes. A possible violation only
comes into play if drivers in the left lane do not move into the right lane
when a vehicle behind them is trying to pass.
Rick Hector, a spokesman for the patrol, told The Quad-City
Times the law is more of an educational effort than a ticket and
“We have been teaching this for years in our
defensive-driving class,” Hector said.
He added that the law does not excuse
vehicles from speeding, and that the patrol is still strictly enforcing speed
limits in all lanes.
While the trucking industry has traditionally
opposed lane restrictions, Todd Spencer, executive vice president for OOIDA,
’ law is an example of how common sense in lawmaking can make the roads safer for
“The whole idea, in most instances of people
trying to force trucks to operate in the right lane, is so they can operate in
the left lane at faster speeds, and that messes things up,” Spencer said.
“Traffic should engage in a predictable
manner, and one of those ways is that people understand that you pass on the
left, and drivers maintain an awareness of the road and other traffic. When
another vehicle is moving faster, you move over to accommodate.”
Spencer compared the law to common-sense lane
practices on roads in other countries – such as
’s Autobahn – where blocking
the fast lane is often considered a more serious offense than speeding. He also
said that any program that emphasizes education over enforcement, such as
’, would have a more
“As opposed to enforcement, it’s based on
people actually being able to drive their vehicles safely,” he said. “They’re
respecting others on the road, and focusing on what they’re doing – using safe
– By Aaron Ladage,