RIDE ALONG: FOX 25 rides with OHP as they enforce the left lane law
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) —
The law restricting Oklahoma drivers use of the left lane has now been in effect for three months. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol tells FOX 25 they have not shied away from enforcement of the law, issuing both tickets and warnings to drivers.
You may have seen signs as you're driving along the highway to remind you to get out of the left lane, except when passing another car. OHP took FOX 25 on a ride-a-long, to demonstrate the correct way to follow the law.
As of November 1st of 2017, Oklahoma drivers can no longer drive in the left lane, except when passing slower traffic. After completing the pass, drivers must then immediately get back over into the right lane. These restriction don't apply in certain situations, such as rush hour and when exiting to the left.
The law was passed to help cut down on road rage and traffic flow problems, which are problems OHP says prompted many calls to its direct line *55.
"We know that people loitering in the left lane, it causes roads rage," said OHP Trooper Dwight Durant.
Since the law went into effect through the first of this year, OHP has issued 55 tickets and 234 warnings for left lane violations. And these tickets aren't cheap. One will set you back two hundred and thirty five dollars.
"I would say being a new law that's about par," Trooper Durant says.
But how long is too long spent in the left lane? Trooper Durant says there really is no magic number, its more about common sense. OHP Troopers are mainly looking for drivers who are causing an unnecessary backup that could lead to a public safety issue.
"Lets say it takes you a mile to get around them, that's fine, you're not going to have a problem but if you notice that traffic is picking up behind you, you need to complete the pass," said Trooper Durant.
During our ride, we spotted multiple drivers following the new rules of the road, getting over to the right after passing the OHP cruiser. And other Oklahoma drivers we spoke to say they fully support enforcement of this law, and have started to see a slight change in traffic flow. Jack Williams says,
" I've been going down the road and seeing you know cars get behind other cars and they wont even move and that's what causes road rage a lot too ya know," says Jack Williams.
"You have my support, write more tickets," said Ty Morton.
OHP says they don't actually make any money off these tickets, as they are not a revenue generating agency. The fines go mainly to the district attorney’s office.