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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