New Oklahoma traffic law: Left lane for passing only

By: Rick Springer Email
By: Rick Springer Email

BRYAN COUNTY, OK - If you drive on Highway 75 in Oklahoma - just the way you always have - you might be breaking the law and don't even know it. A new traffic regulation went into effect in November

"What I was told is a new law that you can't be in the left hand lane, the passing lane," said one driver.

"People aren't aware that the left lane is now used primarily for passing only," said OHP Trooper David McCutcheon.

On November 1, 2010, Oklahoma State Law 11309 went into effect. It states that on a four lane highway drivers are no longer allowed to disrupt the normal flow of traffic by driving in the left-hand lane. Motorists must now drive in the right lane, and only use the left lane for passing, with one exception. If you see an emergency vehicle on the shoulder, you need to pull to the left lane and slow down until you pass it.

According to the O.H.P the new law was enacted to clear the way for first responders during an emergency and cut down on the number of road rage incidents among drivers.

"Fifty-five miles an hour in a seventy mile an hour zone in the fast lane and it's backing traffic up and it's irritating people. It could lead to accidents," said McCutcheon.

But, the quiet passing of the law has led to many drivers being unaware that they're even breaking it. Getting the word out now falls into the hands of troopers like McCutcheon.

"That's our primary goal is to get the education out there so that people know that these laws are out there and that they're in effect."

For now troopers are only issuing warnings for this violation, but for some drivers one warning is all it takes.

"I'm driving inside the right hand lane from now on, except for passing."

"I'm going to stay in the right lane unless I need to pass somebody."

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  • by shade Location: tree on Sep 25, 2011 at 11:41 AM
    to hell with them trying to tell me where and what lane i can drive in.. those lanes are terrible period.. ill drive in which ever lane fits me..
  • by Anonymous Location: Gunter on Feb 15, 2011 at 11:21 PM
    What is frustrating is that when someone is in the left lane going under the speed limit, they just keep on going the same knowing you are is all about POWER CONTROL! And, when they finally do merge to the right lane they actually speed up and go the speed limit or faster so you have to get back behind them again...they still have POWER CONTROL! Probably the only way to have some kind of contol in their life. Not really seen a difference in Texas VS Oklahoma. I think worse than this problem are people pulling out in front of you while you are going 70 mph with the attitude that you will swirve to miss them if you have to. All just a reflection of the majority not having respect for their fellow humans. My daughter is a Mortician in Houston...many people just need to spend a week volunteering...New reality show? Scared Right Drive Right? Feel better now :)
  • by Anonymous on Feb 15, 2011 at 11:23 AM
    Heather I could not have said it any better! Agree 100%
  • by Heather Location: Grayson Co on Feb 15, 2011 at 09:05 AM
    Um, duh. It frustrates me when they have to make a law for something that should be common sense. Really Oklahoma? Did you also know that drivers should merge over to other lane when traffic is merging? And when the other lane has a yield sign you DON'T HAVE TO STOP IN YOUR LANE??? This is a common problem at the Walmart / 75 in Sherman. And God bless, 9 times out of 10 it's an Okie! Do they not have Walmart in Oklahoma?
  • by Texas Educator Location: Okie on Feb 14, 2011 at 07:35 AM's a northeast Texas thing. I live in Durant, but have taught in NE Texas for years. I've discovered that Okie's are some kind of threat to some Texans of this area. My children are grown and live in the Frisco area. They say that there is no petty rivalry or ridicule of Oklahoman's there. I find humor in the ignorance of those Texans who leave negative comments. You just have to laugh it off and pity their lack of maturity. Start noticing how many Texans leave negative posts, but you rarely ever read of an Okie making negative comments towards Texas residents. We were raised with southern pride and manners. As for the highways..I've lived in OKLAHOMA all my life. I always thought the left lane was for passing and didn't realize this was a new law. Hopefully, drivers will catch on and move to the right lane, unless passing!
    • reply
      by Texas Proud on Jul 11, 2011 at 03:03 PM in reply to Texas Educator
      Texas Educator, Oklahoma people are not sayin g anything on here because they know we as Texans are right, I am so sick and tired when I drive down 75 and I don't even have to get close enough to see the license plate of the car and I know they are from Oklahoma, I do not even know why in the world Oklahoma passed this law, it should be like this in any state! Sounds to me like though if you have a problem with Texas you should find a teaching job in Oklahoma!
  • by Chris Location: Paul's Valley on Feb 9, 2011 at 09:42 PM
    Well this is all fine and good. In fact I heartily welcome this law to punish the people who block traffic by pacing the slow lane traffic disrupting everyone else. Problem is especially going North on I-35 from mile marker 72 to about 80 driving in the right lane can lead to headaches, dental trauma and alignment problems on your car. Fix the pavement.
  • by Oklahoma Resident Location: OK on Feb 9, 2011 at 09:38 PM
    I drive in the left lane on 69/75 because the right lane is full of potholes that are so deep it will knock out the front end alignment of my car! If they will fix those, I will drive in the right lane as expected!
  • by william Location: sulphur on Feb 9, 2011 at 09:31 AM
    i think the radio stations should get the new law out on the air. more people will get it. i did know this till i seen it on the kxii news on the net,but ive always drive on the right,ive seen the road rage
  • by USA-Citizen Location: Ardmore on Feb 9, 2011 at 04:27 AM
    I am from Oklahoma and have been my entire life. I always drive in the right lane, using the left lane to pass, then getting back in the right lane as soon as possible. We owned a business where I had to travel to Texas once or twice a week to buy supplies and always, without fail, encountered drivers in Texas who would not stay out of the passing lane if their life depended on it. Almost always these offenders would either be mexican drivers with Texas plates or Texans with high dollar cars such as beamers, porsches, or some other fancy brands. I came to the conclusion that the mexicans maybe were taught that way in their home country and didn't know any better and that the rich Texas folks just feel entitled to use whatever lane they choose. Just my observation and not 100%, but pretty accurate estimate over the years. So don't slam Okies for this until you take a look at your own...just sayin
  • by red Location: OK on Feb 8, 2011 at 09:04 PM
    then they need to FIX the right lane so it is fit to drive on - 69-75 between Durant and McAlester is TERRIBLE !
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