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Proposed Oklahoma law could cut down on road rage incidents

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2024 | Car Accidents |

Most people probably aren’t aware that it’s illegal in Oklahoma to drive in the left lane of a road unless a driver is passing a vehicle. Few people are cited for that violation, and typically only if they’re impeding traffic because they’re driving too slowly. 

Those who drive for some distance in the left lane at the same or slower speed than those in the right lane can be extremely frustrating to other drivers. It’s one of the main reasons for the increase in road rage incidents in Oklahoma in recent years.

What do lawmakers hope to accomplish and how?

Currently, legislation is making its way through the state legislature that would place specific time limits on how long drivers can remain in the left lane. Those in cars and pickup trucks would be able to drive in the left lane to pass other vehicles for one minute. Tractor-trailer drivers would be allowed two minutes to pass using the left lane.

One of the lawmakers behind the bill, Rep. Jeff Boatman of Tulsa, says that’s twice the estimated time it takes these vehicles to pass. He notes that the “ultimate goal is to cut down on the road rage, and so if left lane violations are a significant contributor to that, we want to cut those down….People get mad because somebody pokes along in front of them or cuts them off.”

While there would likely be more citations handed out if the bill becomes law, they wouldn’t cost drivers as much as they currently do. The bill would lower the fine from $550 to $250. The legislation would also make it harder to fight these citations since it gives the current law, which isn’t regularly enforced, more specificity. 

The bill passed easily in the House and is now in the Senate for consideration. However, it’s never too early for drivers to start abiding by these time frames, if they aren’t already. 

Certainly, driving too slowly is never an excuse for another driver to do something violent – including intentionally hitting your vehicle. However, we have no way of predicting how any particular driver could react to anything that frustrates or angers them. If you’ve been injured in a collision by someone who did something dangerous and malicious, it’s important to have experienced legal guidance to help ensure that you get the justice and compensation you deserve.