Intended to increase safety on Oklahoma highways, a new rule that takes effect Sunday, Nov. 1, allows law enforcement officers to crack down on slowpokes who clog traffic by driving in the left lanes of multilane roadways.
The action in the Sooner State was welcome news to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. The Association says it is common sense to have rules in place that requires slower vehicles yield to traffic moving at the speed limit.
At least 20 states have similar left-lane restriction rules, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Oklahoma state Sen. Kenneth Corn said the rule adds some teeth to Oklahoma law and allows the Highway Patrol to issue tickets to drivers who spend too much time in the passing lanes. Corn, D-Poteau, said that the patrol now cannot issue tickets solely for driving slowly in the passing lane.
While he supports the push to keep slower traffic right, owner-operator and OOIDA Life Member Woody Black of Chandler, OK, said he is concerned the Highway Patrol could use the new law to enhance their revenue.
“It shouldn’t be a money maker for the state,” Black said shortly after the bill was signed into law. “That’s what the state police in Oklahoma will try to turn around and do with it.”
A longtime trucker, Black also laments the lack of courtesy among road users that has spurred so many states to step in and mandate left-lane rules.
To view other legislative activities of interest for Oklahoma in 2009, click here.
– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor
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