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Citations, Left Lane Driving & The Law In Texas

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Ken Molestina Ken Molestina
Prior to joining CBS 11 News in January 2014 as anchor and repor...
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NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – 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,” she said. “What happens is that people are going at speed limit, whatever is posted and most people around them are going a lot faster than them.”

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 told CBS 11 News. “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.

The state of Georgia is ticketing slowpokes in the left lane starting July 1. Could that happen here? Probably.

Last year, Houston ticketed motorists dawdling in the left lane for one day — yes one 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.

Officials say the best advice is to follow the law and hopefully others will follow suit.

“There’s an old sign you can see when you come into Texas, it says ‘Drive the Texas way’ and it’s about being courteous,” Sergeant Haschel said, adding, “If someone is coming up behind you fast, get out of that left lane.”

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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