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Can limiting time in the left lane minimize road rage?

Few things are more annoying than someone driving along in the far left lane of a highway, or even a residential street, below the speed limit, obvious to the fact that drivers behind them are trying to get around someone in the right lane going just as slowly. In fact, this scenario is one of the leading causes of road rage incidents.

Many people don’t realize that the left lane is considered a “passing” lane unless they’re on one of those roads where it’s marked as such or a sign says “Slower traffic keep right.” While it’s often illegal in Oklahoma to drive in the far left lane unless you’re passing another vehicle, police don’t typically cite people for doing that unless they’re causing a serious traffic backup.

Some Oklahoma state lawmakers hope to make the purpose of the far left lane more clear to drivers and cut down on road rage and other safety concerns by putting time limits on how long vehicles can remain in that lane before violating the law. They also hope that by having these time limits, it will be easier for police to enforce the law – and that they’ll be more likely to pull people over and ticket them.

The proposed law

A bill that has passed in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and is now being considered by the Senate, would allow tractor-trailers to be in the left lane for two minutes and all smaller vehicles to stay there for one minute. That’s typically long enough to pass a slower vehicle in the right lane. The legislation would also significantly lower the current fine of $550 to $250, which could also make police more willing to stop a driver who remains in the left lane too long.

One of the legislators behind the bill says the “ultimate goal is to cut down on the road rage, and so if left lane violations are a significant contributor to that, we want to cut those down.”

Road rage isn’t always someone getting out of their car and shooting at another driver. Oftentimes, it involves someone deliberately hitting a vehicle – or at least not taking care to miss it. If you’ve been injured in a crash caused by someone who did something dangerous and malicious, they may well be subject to criminal charges. However, you still have a right to hold them liable for medical bills and other expenses and damages in civil court as well. Seeking legal guidance can help you clarify your rights and options.


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