Oklahoma Rings in the New Year by Cracking Down on Slow Drivers in the Left Lane
For the good of the land.
Each new year brings hope, resolutions, and a bevy of new local laws that begin to take effect. Some can lead to societal collapse, as we saw when people in Oregon contemplated the horror of having to pump their own gas. But others are for the good of the land, like the law prohibiting left lane slowpokes now being enforced in Oklahoma.
KXII News reports that the Oklahoma Highway Patrol has kicked off 2018 with a big push to enforce the law aimed at preventing drivers from hanging out in the left lane and holding up traffic. The law actually took effect back on November 1st, but troopers allowed drivers a two-month grace period before issuing tickets in earnest. That ended on Monday.
If the new signs posted on all major highways instructing slower traffic to keep right doesn't do the trick, the punishment will: The ticket for moseying through the Sooner State in the left lane is an eye-watering $236.50, which is more than a speeding ticket for 15 over.
Oklahoma is far from the only state to crack down on left lane hogs. Most states have some form of regulation against impeding the flow of traffic, but a few have gone farther in enforcing it than others. It's sometimes couched as a move to get everyone who's not actively passing someone out of the left lane, though Oklahoma officials have been upfront in saying their law is also designed to ease congestion, reduce road rage incidents, and speed up the movement of emergency vehicles.
Whatever the rationale, keeping slower drivers out of the left lane is undeniably a public good, perhaps enshrined in the Constitution one day. After all, it's the first step towards living up to the high-speed promise of the German autobahn system on which our interstate highway network was based.