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Indiana “Slowpoke” Law Gives Faster Drivers Right of Way

Jun 20 2016, by Sean Hessler in Criminal Defense, Legal Blog, Traffic Violations

Anyone who has driven on a highway has seen signs telling slower drivers to keep right or to keep right except to pass. While Indiana law already requires vehicles traveling below the speed limit to use the right lane of a highway, the state legislature decided to take it a step further by passing a so-called “slowpoke” law. The new law, which took effect as of July 1, 2015, allows law enforcement to issue tickets to motorists who are driving at or above the speed limit in the left lane if they do not move over when a faster-moving vehicle wants to pass. Indiana joins three other states who have passed similar laws targeting slower drivers who hold up traffic in the left lane. If you’ve received a ticket for violating a traffic

The Indiana law requires motorists driving in the left-most lane of highways to get over to allow the faster vehicles to pass even if those vehicles are speeding. Drivers who violate the law are committing a Class C infraction and risk a fine of up to $500. The law does allow for certain exceptions. Drivers would not have to get over in inclement weather, in construction zones restricting travel to certain lanes, when complying with a law, regulation, ordinance or traffic-control device, in preparation for a left turn or exit, when paying a toll, or when traffic conditions would make it necessary to drive in the left lane.

The law was approved by the Indiana House by 97-0 and by a 20-20 vote in the Senate, but the bill was not without controversy. Some legislators criticized the law saying that it could potentially punish drivers who are going the speed limit, protect those who are speeding, and that enforcement would be arbitrary. Those who support the law say that it is intended to incentivize slower drivers to get out of the left lane to keep traffic moving smoothly and to reduce the traffic hazards that can occur when frustrated motorists make sudden lane changes to get around slower drivers.

The law has left many wondering how exactly it will be enforced by law enforcement given that the law leaves a great deal of discretion to police officers. Captain Dave Bursten of the Indiana State Police has said that although slow drivers can cause traffic hazards, police will not ticket slower drivers at the expense of speeders. State police in Georgia, which passed a similar law in 2014, have issued 310 tickets and law enforcement in that state have focused more on drivers who are holding up a long line of traffic in the left lane for an extended period of time. Capt. Bursten has said that Indiana State Police are likely to follow a similar approach.

Need Indianapolis Traffic Defense Against Your Traffic Violation?

If you have received a ticket for a traffic violation, you need an attorney who understands Indiana’s traffic laws and how traffic offenses are handled in Indianapolis and Marion County courts. At Hessler Law, we have years of experience defending against traffic tickets and ensuring that our clients get due process in court. We will put our extensive experience on both the prosecution and defense sides of criminal and traffic matters to work for you. We always fight to obtain the best possible outcome for our clients and we handle every case with professional care and dedication. Contact Hessler Law today at (317) 886-8800.