The Oklahoma legislature recently passed House Bill 2312, which has been signed by the Governor and will take effect on November 1, 2017.
This law states that vehicles are only allowed to use the left-hand lane for passing other vehicles. Not traveling “permanently.”
This rule applies to four-lane interstates, highways, and turnpikes. (On three-lane roads, it’s the center lane that must be kept clear.) Drivers, however, are allowed to remain in the left lane when necessary based on traffic congestion or road conditions. Exceptions also apply for construction zones or emergency situations.
Why Would Oklahoma Pass This Bill?
Dwight Durant, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol Officer, explains that far too many drivers remain in the left lane and create unnecessarily dangerous conditions. Durant says that “slow” left-lane travel often results in road rage, and avoidable crashes. One particularly common complaint is when two large semi-trucks travel side by side, impeding others drivers’ ability to pass. Many drivers support this new bill.
Critics say this law could lead to increased congestion in the center and right lanes, which are often in poor condition because they are used the most.
Gearing Up for the Change
To promote awareness, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation has signs reading “Slow traffic keep right” and “Do not impede the left lane” in over 200 locations statewide, including I-35 and I-40.
When a driver enters the left lane to accelerate past another vehicle, he should merge back out again as soon as it can safely be done. Law enforcement will soon have the ability to issue tickets of up to $235 for violators. According to the Stillwater Police Department, this won’t be as strictly enforced on stretches such as State Highway 51 or Sixth Avenue, where using the left lane is necessary to turn into a residence or business.
House Bill 2312 is actually part of a larger statewide effort to heighten highway safety. Legislators hope this new rule will result in fewer accidents on the roadways.
Even regulating left-lane traffic won’t stop all accidents. On today’s fast-paced and increasingly crowded roads, many Oklahoma drivers continue to use mobile devices, ignore traffic signs, and drive while intoxicated, causing accidents. At Car Accident Help, we’re advocates for people injured in accidents that aren’t their fault. To review your case with our team, contact us at (405) 285-4357 for a free consultation.