If you’ve taken a family road trip, or if you regularly spend time driving on interstate highways, you have likely experienced the frustration of trying to pass slower traffic in the right lane only to be impeded by an equally slow driver in the left lane. Often, that driver will get the hint and move over to let you proceed, but sometimes that car will stay in that left lane, blissfully oblivious to the fact that, as we all know, the left lane should be reserved for passing.
Before July 1st, the consequences to the “slow poke” in the left lane on Georgia highways would probably be limited to honking horns, flashing headlights, and perhaps a well-chosen hand gesture. Now, however, the law in Georgia explicitly states that the left lane is for passing only, and if a driver is caught cruising along in the left lane for an extended period of time, they could get ticketed.
House Bill 459, which became effective on July 1st, states that you can’t drive in the left lane unless:
- traffic conditions or congestion make it necessary to drive in the passing lane;
- inclement weather, obstructions or hazards make it necessary to drive in the passing lane;
- compliance with a law of this state or with an official traffic control device makes it necessary to drive in the passing lane;
- a vehicle must be driven in the passing lane to exit or turn left;
- on toll highways, when necessary to pay a toll or use a pass;
- you are driving an authorized emergency vehicle engaged in official duties; or
- you are driving a vehicle engaged in highway maintenance and construction operations.
The law is designed to reduce road rage, tailgating, and traffic congestion while increasing traffic flow. Slow pokes in Georgia are now on notice that their fellow drivers aren’t the only ones reacting to their left lane presence; the police now will as well.
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This article has been prepared by J. Alan Welch Law for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.