New Indiana Traffic Law – ‘Move Over’ Indiana!

New Indiana Traffic Law - I65In a surprising last minute measure, the Indiana General Assembly recently passed a new Indiana traffic law requiring drivers to allow faster drivers to pass in the left lane by requiring that slower drivers move into the right lane when not passing.  (SeeIndyStar, “New Indiana law Requires Slower Drivers to Move into Right Lane,” 26 May 2015; NWI Times,  New Indiana Law: Move Over, Slowpokes,” 23 May 2015.) Failure of Indiana drivers to follow the expression “stay right except to pass” will now be punishable by a fine of up to $500 and could result in points on the offender’s license under the new Indiana traffic law.

This new Indiana traffic law has created great controversy, as between prospective fast-laners and slower drivers.  (See, Lafayette Journal & Courier, “Indiana’s move-it-on-over law going too far?” 30 May 2015.)

The new Indiana traffic law reads as follows: (Full text version here)

SECTION 67. IC 9-21-5-7 IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS[EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2015]: Sec. 7.(a) A person may not drive a motor vehicle at a slow speed that impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with the law. A person who is driving:

                 (1) on a roadway that has not more than one (1) lane of traffic in each direction; and

            (2) at a slow speed so that three (3) or more other vehicles are blocked and cannot pass on the left around the vehicle; shall give right-of-way to the other vehicles by pulling off to the right of the right lane at the earliest reasonable opportunity and allowing the blocked vehicles to pass.

   (b) A person who fails to give right-of-way as required by subsection (a) commits a Class C infraction.

SECTION 69. IC 9-21-5-9 IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2015]: Sec. 9. (a) A vehicle that travels at a speed less than the established maximum shall travel in the right lanes to provide for better flow of traffic on the interstate highways.

   (b) This subsection applies to the operation of a vehicle:

                 (1) on a roadway that has two (2) or more lanes of traffic in each direction; and

                      (2) in the left most lane, other than a lane designated for high occupancy vehicles. Except as provided in subsection (c), a person who knows, or should reasonably know, that another vehicle is overtaking from the rear the vehicle that the person is operating may not continue to operate the vehicle in the left most lane.

   (c) Subsection (b) does not apply:

          (1) when traffic conditions or congestion make it necessary to operate a vehicle in the left most lane;

                    (2) when inclement weather, obstructions, or hazards make it necessary to operate a vehicle in the left most lane;

         (3) when compliance with a law, a regulation, an ordinance, or a traffic control device makes it necessary to operate a vehicle in the left most lane;

                    (4) when exiting a roadway or turning to the left;

             (5) when paying a toll or user fee at a toll collection facility;

                  (6) to an authorized emergency vehicle operated in the course of duty; or

               (7) to vehicles operated or used in the course of highway maintenance or construction.

   (d) A person who violates this section commits a Class C infraction.

House Enrolled Act 1305 (Passed, 5/5/2015, Eff. 7/1/2015).

How Are Police Going to Enforce the New Indiana Traffic Law?

Basically, what this new Indiana traffic law seeks to do is to codify into law what has been the driving custom for decades.  The most interesting aspect of the new Indiana traffic law is the enforcement of such a new Indiana traffic law. For instance, will police enforce the new Indiana traffic law against slow moving motorists who are hanging out in the left hand lane or will they opt instead to ticket the motorist who is quickly approaching the slow mover at a high rate of speed? Or, perhaps, the police will ticket both motorists?

Accidents and the New Indiana Traffic Law

Another troubling concept with this new Indiana traffic law is what is known as “negligence per se”. When a person is cited with a traffic citation at the scene of a motor vehicle accident or car crash, it can automatically shift who is responsible for causing the car crash and any Indiana personal injury that results.  If a person is cited for failing to move over to allow faster drivers to pass under the new Indiana traffic law, it could change who legally caused the accident.

What Do You Think about the New Indiana Traffic Law, Indiana?

What do you think about the new Indiana traffic law? Are you constantly frustrated with slow drivers blocking the left lane? Are you worried that this law might encourage speeding and make the roadways more dangerous?  Tell us your thoughts by leaving comments below.

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  • Tim1980

    I think you are spot on about the shift in liability for crashes. It seems odd that the “speed limit” is now the speed minimum. If any of your readers has ever driven down I-65 they may well know that going the speed limit is not an option. This listed speed limit for cars and light trucks is 70 mph, but without fail there will be someone who is frustrated by the tortoise like behavior of a person driving at 85 mph. Are we all now subject to citations for infractions because the jerk going 95 and tailgating is in a hurry? Does the jerk also get a citation for speeding and following too close? There also didn’t appear to be an exception for a mechanical emergency. And how are we the thread this needle? We must get out of the way, but, again having traveled up and down 65 more times than I care to count, there is often a long series of semi trucks in the right lane (for which the speed limit is 65 mph), so now must we speed and get a ticket, or inconvenience the jerk and get a ticket?

    • AboutTime

      How about get the the hell over! The person going faster is going to pass anyway, so lets give them a straight shot and allow Law Enforcement to get them, oh wait, it is much better to have someone dodging in and out of traffic to get around someone who could just as easy get over and not endanger everyone! Stop thinking of yourself, put your latte and cell away and start driving for others (Defensive Driving). If selfish, self centered drivers that can’t figure out when to get over, hell yea ticket them. You bring up Trucks, hope you realize when your traveling up and down I65 your in their place of work. Keep in mind they are out there trying to make a living, so Im hoping you allow them to do their jobs. Driving is a privilege and people that cant look beyond themselves dont deserve that privilege. Thank you Indiana for this law, lets just hope its enforced!

      • Remo Williams

        Driving for interstate commerce is a privilege. Everyone has the right to travel for pleasure.

  • Shaine

    Well it been over a year now and it’s clear that this law is not going to be upheld by law enforcement. Even the police cars camp out in the left lane without any intention of passing the car to their right. I drive to work everyday on I-69. Since people camp out in the left lane, everyone has no choice but to be tailgated in both lanes. This makes driving on a road that is littered with large potholes, debris, and semis very unsafe. Plus, if there is an accident, the people that are camped in the left who are afraid to change lanes, cause instant gridlock. This makes it difficult for emergency vehicles to reach the scene of the accident. If the law was upheld, both left lane camping and speeding like other States, everyone would be much safer on the road.

    Please step it up Indiana Police and enforce our laws.