Left-Lane Laws in Texas
In Texas, as in many other states, the law requires drivers on multi-lane highways to use the left lane only for passing. It’s illegal in Texas to drive on the left when you’re not trying to pass someone. Drivers on multi-lane Texas highways often see signs reading “Left Lane For Passing Only,” meaning that the left lane on the divided highway is a passing lane, not a “fast” lane. A huge number of drivers ignore this law.
Drivers should keep right: after passing a driver in the right lane, they should move back into the right lane. Texas drivers, however, constantly break the law by traveling in the left lane in areas meant for passing only. Why is this violation so common? It’s a temptation that is a lot like speeding, say safety personnel (khou.com). As with speeding, those who break the law are liable to be fined. The Texas Department of Transportation states anyone caught violating this law could face up to a $200 fine. Many drivers, however, complain that the law isn’t being enforced.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, reported KIITV, drivers who don’t follow the law can create a hazardous situation for others on the road because it causes more congestion around them. A fast driver entering the left lane to pass another vehicle could suddenly face a driver in the left lane and be unable to brake in time to avoid a rear-end collision, or a crash caused by the faster driver having to swerve away from the car ahead. “Here in Texas, our primary focus is to reduce vehicle fatalities and vehicle crashes and if we all abide by the simple laws that are in place for us here as Texans we can meet that goal,” a Department of Public Safety trooper told KHOU.
Some states have “slowpoke laws” that even make driving slowly in the left lane illegal. Texas has no such law. The Houston Chronicle noted last year that many people in Twitter were congratulating a Texas police officer who tweeted that he had pulled over a slowpoke driving in the wrong line. Asked the headline, “Is it time to crack down on ‘left lane hogs’?”
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