Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

A $250 fine for "left lane squatters"

…is being proposed in Oregon. I hope that this bill passes, and that it is subsequently copied by other state legislatures:



Good. It’s safer for everyone if you drive as far right as you can without being slowed down by traffic ahead of you.

Had some dope doing 40mph in the left lane of a 65mph interstate the other day. Tied up traffic for miles, and made a lot of people angry which is always a good idea on the roads, and for absolutely no reason than obliviousness.

NH passed the left lane law more then 5 years ago. It’s NEVER EVER enforced.

PA has a Left-lane passing only law, but I’ve only ever seen it enforced if the cops have something else they can tack on

Ironically, when I encounter a left-lane squatter on a NJ Interstate highway, at least 90% of the time it turns out to be somebody with PA plates. :smirk:

NJ also has such a law, and it is rarely–if ever–enforced.
However, I have to confess that I don’t know the penalty for a violation of that statute in NJ.

I refer to the right lane as “my private lane”.
Most times, I am the only one driving in that lane, and–most times–I wind up passing most of the center lane and left lane traffic while I am driving in the right lane.
And, before anyone asks, my state does allow passing on the right on multi-lane highways.


Same here. What is very common now in NH and MA are these jerks that get in the far left lane and drop speeds to usually below the speed limit so they can text.

I think that we have a very similar strategy.
I stay in the right lane, but if there is traffic merging from an entry ramp ahead, I tromp on the gas, and thanks to the prodigious acceleration of Subaru’s 3.6 liter six cylinder engine, I am soon far ahead of the blood clots that are clogging the center lane.
I can pull into the center lane in order to provide a “courtesy” entry for the traffic in the merging lane, and then I can pull back into the right lane when it is safe to do so.

I have mixed feelings . . .

For starters, I’m assuming a 65 speed limit

If you’re in the left lane doing 50, traffic is moving along, no accidents, etc., yeah, move over. If not, you deserve a fine

On the other hand, if you’re in the left lane doing a steady 75 or so, and are are actually passing slower vehicles, then I see no reason to give that guy a ticket, because he’s possibly holding up the guys behind him that want to do 85 or 90

I think law enforcement should use some discretion

It would be outrageous if the guy doing 75 was ticketed, and the guys doing 90 and tailgating and flashing the high beams get off scot free


Down the street from me is the family that runs an extremely prosperous waste management company. The wife is one of the worst drivers I’ve ever seen. On my windy road she’s flying around gliding between the lanes. On the major highway near me (speed limit 65) she’s sitting in the left lane going 50 :rage: Best part is she’s got the family name on her vanity plates so there’s no doubt who it is…

I think Colorado passed a law like that when I lived there. Made everybody feel good, nobody likes to be frustrated by somebody driving constantly in the passing lane, but as mentioned above , hard to enforce. I never heard of anybody getting a ticket for that.

Oklahoma passed a left lane law not many years ago but it’s seldom enforced if at all. Too bad the statute doesn’t apply to law enforcement vehicles not on a call…

1 Like

We need it here. We moved to Oregon a year ago after 25 years in the Seattle area. Wife and kids moved down while I stayed behind to get the house ready to sell and tend to business matters. So I spent 6 months regularly commuting from Seattle to Eugene for weekend visits. And it’s clear, as soon as you get into Oregon the drivers have no clue about letting traffic pass. You’ll see traffic backed up on the interstate and find one lone car plugging along at just the speed limit in the left lane.

I don’t care what the speed limit is, if you’re in the left lane holding up a line of traffic, and car after car after car has to pass you on the right, you are the safety hazard and you are in the way and need to move.

This isn’t nearly as common in WA, but I have personally seen a WA State Trooper signal a slow driver to move to the right to let traffic pass.

A law like that really has to be complemented with a law that forbids passing, or even establishing an overlap from behind in the right lane. This essentially gives the left lane traffic the right of way to merge with the right lane traffic and prevents someone from being trapped in the left lane by traffic passing on the right.
This is the rule on Germany’s autobahns…

Also, laws like these only apply to “free flowing traffic” conditions. When the traffic is bumper to bumper during rush hour, the left lane is needed to handle the traffic volume. Minimum speeds also don’t apply in these conditions. If they did, the cops could give everyone on the highway a ticket for driving under the minimum speed.


It doesn’t need to be over complicated. Simple, you drive in left lane while passing and move over when complete. If there’s a gap in front of you and people right behind you, here’s your sign…

If you’re actually passing the vehicles to your right, I don’t think you’re breaking these types of laws.

That happens a lot in the Boston during light to moderate traffic…If you’re in the Left lane and not passing anyone…you’re a danger to yourself and other drivers. Doesn’t matter what speed you’re doing or others around you are doing…it’s a danger.

If you’re passing other vehicles then you’re using the left lane as intended. I can’t imagine a cop would ding you for that, although he might get you for 10 over if he’s having trouble meeting his quota.

Like this? :wink:

(mute it - the audio’s obnoxious)

I agree with you Mike but db made the distinction that the car is in the act of passing. In that case, you’re within reason to be in that lane. Once you stop passing and are pacing other cars in the adjacent lane, that is another thing altogether.

That being said, if I’m doing 80 and passing people and I see someone closing in behind me, I move over and let them past. I can easily move back into the left lane after they go by. Driving is an active effort. You need to pay attention and may need to change lanes occasionally to accommodate other traffic. I can’t see why people think it’s such a big deal to actually move from lane to lane as conditions dictate. You’re not riding on a motorized sofa…

Maybe there will be some help from technology. Lexus announced it has a V2V (vehicle to vehicle) communication system coming that may play a role that is now played by a simple flick of the high beams from the approaching car: “Today, the luxury automaker announces its commitment to the development of a new technology feature for all models: Lane Valet. This advanced system will improve traffic flow by assisting the movement of slower moving vehicles from the left lane into the more appropriate right lane, which, in turn, helps make the highway safe and more enjoyable for all parties. Utilizing unprecedented radar and lane monitoring technology, in conjunction with 802.11p V2V wireless data protocol, this new semi-autonomous system will help Lexus drivers to communicate temporarily with the slower vehicle and do the driver the courtesy of safely moving their vehicle for them.” Technology like this takes time to be effective. Today I saw a Mass State Trooper enter the highway (rt 95 South) in Dedham and then run up behind the left-lane drivers aggressively (tailgated them). He would then ride their bumper until they had room to move to the right. When they were not quick enough for the trooper he (she?) would use the gumball machine to encourage the nervous drivers to get over quicker than they felt was safe. I guess that’s another way to do it.