New left lane law to take effect in November

If asked to identify some of the most frustrating behaviors on the part of fellow motorists, chances are good, most people would list things like tailgating, cutting others off, weaving between lanes and, of course, blocking the left lane.

As obnoxious -- and dangerous -- as some of these behaviors are, motorists here in Oklahoma will soon be given a reprieve from several of them thanks to a new law passed by state lawmakers this past spring.

What does this new law do?

The new law dictates that starting November 1, 2017, law enforcement officials can pull motorists over and issue them a $235.25 citation (plus court costs) for staying in the left lane.

Specifically, the new law prohibits motorists from staying in the left lane of any road with four or more lanes of traffic, such as standard highways with two lanes traveling in different directions.

Are there exceptions?

Officials indicate that it's permissible to travel in the left lane when 1) traffic congestion/flow prevents moving over, 2) road configuration keeps motorists in the left lane, 3) other vehicles are merging and 4) emergency vehicles are parked on the shoulder.

What's the reasoning behind this new law?

The law came about owing to a recognition that when motorists -- including truckers -- travel below the posted speed limit on highways with moderate congestion, it can cause other motorists to execute unsafe passing maneuvers, complicate merging, create more traffic and even fuel road rage.

Does this mean law enforcement will be issuing far more citations?

The good news for motorists is that the Oklahoma Highway Patrol has indicated troopers will be considering road conditions when issuing citations. For example, if a vehicle is traveling virtually alone on the highway in the left lane, there is a good chance they would not be cited.

What are your thoughts on the new law? Do you support it? Are you afraid it'll be used by law enforcement too often?

If you've been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a car accident caused by the recklessness of another motorist, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional who can help you pursue justice.

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