Proposed Law Aims to Keep Truckers out of the Fast Lane

by | Apr 18, 2016

Drivers frequently find themselves slamming on the breaks to avoid hitting a car or truck that is driving slowly in the left lane. One slow-moving vehicle can back up traffic, frustrating other drivers and increasing their accident risks. A proposed Tennessee law aims to end this dilemma.

The media has dubbed this legislation the “Slowpoke Law.” It’s designed to promote highway safety, reduce highway congestion and ease overall driver frustration. The law would require vehicles to stay in the two right lanes on a three lane highway, only using the left lane to pass. This would encourage drivers to stay to the right, even if they are driving at the speed limit.

The Limits of the Passing Lane Law

The bill does not address speeding or speed limits, but rather tackles flow-of-traffic issues. The theory behind the bill is that, while speeding is dangerous, blocking the flow of traffic on the highway is also hazardous. Highway accidents are particularly threatening, especially when large vehicles, such as trucks, are involved.

Law enforcement would have the ability to impose a $50 fine on anyone who violates this law. In certain conditions, such as inclement weather, the law would not apply. This would also be true when a vehicle is merging, or when traffic control devices make driving in the lane a necessity. The law would also not apply to two lane divided highways, though future legislation might address this issue.

The Precedent

Tennessee is the 29th state to propose such legislation. Lawmakers and attorneys realize that the discretion to enforce these laws will be, in part, up to law enforcement officers, however, other states that have adopted such measures are citing success. The bill has received bi-partisan support and is expected to pass.

Fatalities caused by large truck collisions are on the rise in Tennessee. Truck collisions in the state were responsible for 107 deaths in 2012, up from 86 in 2009. Drivers are urged to keep a safe distance while driving around trucks and to pass with care. Laws like these are crafted to reduce the risk for drivers sharing the road with large vehicles. A Tennesseetruck accident attorney can provide more information on traffic laws and the process for seeking compensation after an accident.