Police crack down on slow left lane drivers

Author: CBS News

Clueless drivers across the country are getting pulled over — not for speeding, but for going too slow in the passing lane, reports CBS News correspondent Adriana Diaz.

Indiana is the latest state to begin penalizing drivers for holding up traffic in the left lane. When its new law begins next month, drivers could get tickets for as much as $500.

In Chicago, if you don’t keep up the pace while driving in the left lane, you could be slapped with a $1,000 fine and multiple-time offenders can be charged with a misdemeanor.

In New Jersey, the fine for the offense went up to a maximum of $300 two years ago.

“We focus on the most aggressive drivers out there,” NJ State Police Lt. Col. Patrick Callahan said. “I would agree going 90 is more dangerous than going 50, but doing 50 does come with some concern and some consequences.”

At least 38 states have laws in place to fine for lingering in the left lane. In five states, fines can reach $1,000 and 22 states classify the violation as a misdemeanor.

“Just like you should be fined for going too fast, you should be fined for going too slow,” one driver said.

“I think it’s about time. People need to move over,” another said.

“When you have people just drive anywhere, it is chaos on the roadway,” New Jersey State Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon said.

He pushed for the state’s law in order or to reduce accidents and anger on the road.

“One of the chief causes of road rage is people’s failure to obey this very simple rule,” he said.

Contrary to how some drivers use it, the left lane is not the “fast lane.”

“You should be passing using the left lane,” O’Scanlon said. “This is not a minor offence. When you cause people to change lanes more frequently or to pass people on the right, that is when you get the most severe accidents.”

Enforcing the law in New Jersey is largely up to state troopers and Callahan said not all left-leaning drivers are targeted.

“It’s those cars that are really obstructing the flow of traffic out there, sometimes even driving under the speed limit. That’s who troopers are looking for, that vehicle and that driver that’s really failing to keep right as they should,” Callahan said.

Although slow driving in the left lane can cause frustration, it’s not the primary cause of road rage. A recent survey found texting came was number one followed, by tailgating. The “left lane hog” came in third.

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