New state law declares left lane for passing only

New state law declares left lane for passing only

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - A new law going into effect this year will make it illegal for you to drive in the left lane unless you are passing a car traveling in the right lane.

The law will go into effect in November. Currently, you can drive in the left lane for as far as you want as long you are not impeding any traffic trying to pass you. But with the new law, you will be required to stay in the right lane unless you need to pass someone, at which point you can go into the left lane, though you'll have to move right back over once you're done passing.

Despite the new law making it officially illegal to ride in the left lane, several drivers said that's already how they drive.

"I've always known it was called the passing lane, I get into it to pass when I'm done passing people I get back into the right lane because sometimes people are driving faster than I am," said Jonathon Cruz, a supporter of the law.

"I stay my butt in the right lane because that's the steady traffic. In the left lane, it's for those of us who feel like they need to hurry up and get somewhere," said Johnetta Carrillo, who supports the new law.

The new law goes into effect in November and Highway Patrol Troopers will be out in full force enforcing it, but Trooper Jacob Dickinson said the law is not simply black and white.

"High traffic areas like we have here around the Key Gate area, if you're going to be driving in the left lane to allow people to come onto the highway, that's going to be OK," Dickinson said. "But if you're just driving down north of Key Gate in between Medicine Park if you're in the left lane and you're not passing anyone and everyone keeps passing you on the right, yea, you need to get over to the right."

Dickinson said having the left lane open except for passing allows for emergency vehicles to travel much more easily and more safely.

"We always drive in the left lane," Dickinson said. "If we've got our lights and sirens on or if we're going to a call that doesn't require lights and sirens. We're going to drive in the left that way we can drive faster and get to where we need to faster."

If you don't follow the new law, Trooper Dickinson said you will be ticketed, have to pay a fine and will receive points on your driving record.  He also wanted to send a reminder to everyone that you do need to pull into the left lane or slow down if you see law enforcement pulled over on the right side of the road.

You can read the new law in its entirety here.

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