OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Highway Patrol was pulling drivers over Wednesday for violating the state’s new left lane law. The fine is up to $249.
“Basically, in simplest terms is, if you’re not passing a vehicle or overtaking a vehicle and you’re in the left lane, you’re in the wrong lane to drive,” said Trooper Clayton Fredrickson.
The new law applies to any road, street or highway with more than two lanes.
During our ride along with Fredrickson, several people were pulled over for violating the law.
“So, I’m going to stop this person because they’ve been in this lane for about a mile now and they’ve had the opportunity to move over, so we’ll get them stopped and educated about the new law,” Fredrickson said.
Fredrickson explained to the woman why she was stopped.
“The reason why I got you stopped is because you were driving in the left lane there," he said. "Not sure if you knew this or not but, November 1, the new law took effect.”
She got off with a warning.
“You were driving in the left hand lane,” he told another driver. “In Oklahoma, unless you’re passing somebody in the left-hand lane, you need to be in the right lane, okay?”
Fredrickson said there are several reasons for the new law.
“Probably to help ease the congestion a little bit," he said. "Probably to help emergency vehicles responding to emergencies.”
But, there are exceptions:
- You can move into the left lane if you need to allow someone to enter the highway. However, you must move back to the right lane as soon as you get the chance.
- You’re also allowed to move to the left lane if the lane is an exit or an entrance to another highway.
- OHP said congestion is also a factor: if the flow of traffic doesn’t allow you to move to the right and you are going the speed limit, then you aren’t breaking the rules.
- OHP also said you can’t move to the left lane and exceed the speed limit just to pass other cars that are going the speed limit in the right lane.