In 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. (See, IndyStar, “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.
Need a Traffic Lawyer Who Understands the New Indiana Traffic Law?
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