Police: Languishing in left lane can pain pocketbook

Left Lane Crackdown

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - State police are beefing up enforcement of two-year-old law mandating motorists to stay in the righthand lane when possible.

To avoid confusion, State Troopers aren't ticketing drivers for using the left lane to pass drivers in the right lane. Troopers are writing tickets for motorists who travel in the left lane for a substantial amount of time, without passing, they say.

Sgt. James Anderson said drivers who stay in the left lane without passing other cars can cause traffic problems.

"It impedes the flow of traffic, it creates road rage,"Anderson said. "People tend to tailgate and even possibly pass on the shoulder to get around vehicles that are blocking the left-lane, and it hinders the ability of first responders to get to crash scenes."

But this law isn't new. In August  2009 the law was changed to read that drivers have to keep right, except to pass or make a turn.

According to Louisiana Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulation RS32:71,

"Upon all multilane highways, no vehicle shall be driven in the left-hand lane except when directed otherwise, preparing for a left turn at an intersection or private road or driveway, overtaking or passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, or when right-hand lanes are congested; however, no vehicle being driven in the left lane except when directed otherwise or preparing for a left turn at an intersection, private road, or driveway shall impede any other vehicle that is traveling in the same lane and behind that vehicle."

"It's been state law for years, and if another vehicle is trying to pass you on the highway, you're to move out of that left lane," Anderson said.

And there are signs on the highways reminding drivers of the law — KEEP RIGHT except to pass.

"We'd really like to attain voluntary compliance, but if not, we'll go out and write a few tickets," Anderson said.

Anderson said state police will continue the enforcement details for the next few years.

All rights reserved. KPLC 2011.