SPECIAL REPORT: Driving in the Left Lane

Police everywhere are cracking down

PEORIA - If you’re used to driving in the left lane, be prepared to pay a fine.

“That’s one of my pet peeves of driving is staying in the left lane and not paying attention to what you’re doing,” said Bob, as he drove through Peoria on his way home to Ohio.

“I think a lot of people don’t care anymore, I think a lot of people kind of, it’s all about them, as long as they get to where they’re going,” said driver, Jordan Lloyd.

Driving in the left lane, except to pass slower vehicles has been illegal in Illinois since January 2004. Hundreds of drivers still do it on a daily basis, but state police say that doesn’t make it right.

“It is your duty as a driver to only use that left lane as a passing lane. If you have traffic come up behind you, you are to move over in the right lane,” said Illinois State Police Trooper Ross Green.

Not moving over could cost you up to $120. State police stopped 144 drivers last year in the Peoria area for improper lane usage. Many of them were left lane drivers, and putting the safety of others at risk.    

“People aren’t anticipating on those vehicles passing on the right side, and a lot of times we have people cutting people off, and even causing crashes because they’re just not used to that right lane passing,” Trooper Green said.

That is why the law was made, and being enforced across the country. It’s written in the Illinois vehicle code, allowing officers to stop drivers who hold up traffic. Many drivers tell us they agree.

“You get caught driving in the left lane in England and you get a ticket right now, so I think they ought to do that in the United States,” Bob said.

“I’m trying to get somewhere and you need to be in the right lane so that I can go faster in the left lane,” Lloyd said.

Enforcement isn’t as easy for police as it may seem.  

“The only way we can really enforce this law, is if us, the law enforcement officers, are traveling behind somebody who is essentially clogging up the passing lane and using it as a driving lane,” said Trooper Green.

Sometimes, passing in the left lane also becomes illegal.

“If you’re passing slower traffic at 70, then you are breaking the speed limit,” said Trooper Green.

Most drivers just ask you to think of others on the road.

“I’ve had people stay in the left lane and just, basically challenge me to pass them on the right,” Bob said.

“Just be conscious of other people, like not only with driving but everything,” Lloyd said.

State police say a ticket for left lane driving is considered a moving violation and isn’t limited to interstates. Any two-lane highway can fall into the law. 


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