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"Really?... Left Lane For Passing Only??"
(01/06/14 Laney & Bollinger | Lawyers)




Driving Safely
Adhere to Traffic Signs that say
"Left Lane is for Passing Only"

Everyone has probably noticed the addition of numerous signs along the highway that read "Left Lane for Passing Only."

The related statute governing the subject appears to be relatively unknown by the general driving public and, in the past, has been rarely enforced (probably one of the reasons that signs have been added.) Law enforcement officials are making an enforcement effort to get the driving public aware of the law and out of the left lane unless they are passing or turning left. In essence, Texas law prohibits driving in the left lane of multiple lane roadways unless for the purposes of passing other vehicles or making a left turn. Violators of this statute clog freeways and highways causing needless obstructions to the smooth flow of traffic, creating dangerous situations for everyone on the road. In the larger metropolitan areas, this violation is also cited in many road rage incidents.

So Be Aware!! The actual statue is quoted at the end of this article.

Note: that even if there was no specific statute for no driving in left lane except for passing (or for any other signs) - be aware that all signs you see/read on the highway arguably are covered by the catch all sign:

Note Also: Not obeying the posted signs is considered a Class C Misdemeanor, with a ticket fine minimum at $200, and up.

So Be Aware!! The actual statue is quoted at the end of this article.

*********************

Some other good generally related driving safety information and rules, as posted by Texas Department of Transportation for Highway Driving, are found at www.txdot.gov and outlined below:
Highway Driving
Speed Limits

The maximum speed limit on most interstate and state highways in Texas is 75 miles per hour, although in some areas the speed limit may be higher because of fewer people traveling on certain roads. Speed limits on state highways can and often are set lower than the maximum and drivers should always be alert for changes in posted speed limits and driving conditions.

Observing speed limits means more than driving faster or slower than the posted speed: it means driving to conditions. When it's raining or foggy, when ice is on the road, when traffic is heavy or when road construction is ahead, adjust your speed accordingly.

Keep Right

Watch for signs on Texas multi-lane highways that read "Left Lane For Passing Only." These signs let you know that the left lane on a divided highway is not a "fast" lane; it is a passing lane.

After you pass someone, move into the right lane once you've safely cleared the vehicle. Impeding the flow of traffic by continuing to drive in the left lane is punishable by a fine of up to $200.

Sharing the Road with Trucks

Trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and may need up to 100 yards to stop. Here are some tips to help keep you safe when you drive near trucks:

Move Over

When you approach a stopped emergency vehicle with lights flashing, state law requires that you:

Failure to comply could result in a fine of up to $200.

Give Yourself a Break

If your eyes close or go out of focus, you can't stop yawning, your thoughts wander or you're drifting between lanes, wake up: you're a "drowsy driver." Stay alert by doing the following:

Rest Areas

Take advantage of the more than 100 Safety Rest Areas and Travel Information Centers in Texas. At many stops, you can use free wifi, get current information on highway conditions, learn about local attractions and find picnic tables and other accommodations.

*********************
Statute Relating to "Left Lane for Passing Only"

545.051. DRIVING ON RIGHT SIDE OF ROADWAY

  1. An operator on a roadway of sufficient width shall drive on the right half of the roadway, unless:
    1. the operator is passing another vehicle;
    2. an obstruction necessitates moving the vehicle left of the center of the roadway and the operator yields the right-of-way to a vehicle that:
      1. is moving in the proper direction on the unobstructed portion of the roadway; and
      2. is an immediate hazard;
    3. the operator is on a roadway divided into three marked lanes for traffic; or
    4. the operator is on a roadway restricted to one-way traffic.
  2. An operator of a vehicle on a roadway moving more slowly than the normal speed of other vehicles at the time and place under the existing conditions shall drive in the right-hand lane available for vehicles, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, unless the operator is:
    1. passing another vehicle; or
    2. preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
  3. An operator on a roadway having four or more lanes for moving vehicles and providing for two-way movement of vehicles may not drive left of the center line of the roadway except:
    1. as authorized by an official traffic-control device designating a specified lane to the left side of the center of the roadway for use by a vehicle not otherwise permitted to use the lane;
    2. under the conditions described by Subsection (a)(2); or
    3. in crossing the center line to make a left turn into or out of an alley, private road, or driveway.

Even if it wasn't a statute specifically, this catch-all might have covered it:
Not obeying the posted signs is considered a Class C Misdemeanor with a ticket fine starting at $200 and going up from there.

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Archived Contributions
1.  Introduction to Laney & Bollinger
2.  Can I Prepare My Own Will?
3.  What Can You Do When Stopped For Speeding
4.  Justice in Texas - 2013
5.  Really?... Left Lane For Passing Only?
6.  Watching Greed Grow...AFTER You Die.


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