The law is clear in Texas – the left lane is for passing only. But, what do you do if you get stuck behind a slow poke hogging the left lane? In the metroplex, you may be out of luck.
Amber Colichia, an officer with the Hurst Police Department, told CBS 11 News that in all of her four years as a traffic cop she has never ticketed anyone for driving slow in left lane.
It’s rare for Dallas Metroplex drivers to be ticketed for driving slow in the left lane. The majority of the time, drivers are going at the posted speed limit and most people around them are going a lot faster.
That may be true.
Sergeant Lonny Haschel of Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDOT) says, while it is clear the left lane is for passing only, it is also not the fast lane.
“The left lane, contrary to what people think, is not a fast lane,” he said. “It’s in the transportation code that specifically says you need to drive your vehicle in the right lane or as close as you can to the right lane and the left lane is only for passing.”
Every state has some law on the books restricting the use of left lane. In 29 states the law says people driving slower that the “normal speed of traffic” must move to the right lane.
Last year, Houston ticketed motorists dawdling in the left lane for one solid day. Officials there said they did it mostly to raise awareness about the law.
Those who were caught violating the left lane law got slapped with a Class C misdemeanor — similar to a speeding ticket with a maximum penalty of $500.
Watch for signs on Texas multi-lane highways that read “Left Lane For Passing Only.” These signs let you know that the left lane on a divided highway is not a “fast” lane; it is a passing lane.
After you pass someone, move into the right lane once you’ve safely cleared the vehicle. Impeding the flow of traffic by continuing to drive in the left lane is punishable by a fine of up to $200.