House Bill 1416, also known as the “Slow Poke” law, was officially passed in the Tennessee Senate on Monday, April 4. The bill prohibits driving in the left lane of highways with at least three lanes in each direction, unless the driver is passing another vehicle.
With a 21-7 Senate approval, the bill will now go to the governor who will likely sign it into law.
The decision to issue a ticket for the Class C misdemeanor will be up to state troopers and police officers. The fine for driving in the left lane is $50.
The bill only applies to highways with six or more lanes. It also will not apply in certain circumstances:
- When traffic volume is too high and does not permit safe merging into a non-passing lane
- If bad weather or traffic markers/signs/signals make it necessary to drive in the left lane
- If there hazards or obstructions (i.e. a car accident) are present in the non-passing lane
- If highway design makes it necessary to drive in the left lane
- When yielding to emergency vehicles, highway maintenance or construction
Furthermore, the bill will allow the Tennessee Department of Transportation to use electronic highway message boards to warn drivers to only use the left lane for passing.
According to Sen. Frank Niceley, the bill’s sponsor, the purpose of the “Slow Poke” bill is to cut down on road rage. Many drivers tend to shift into the left lane and stay there, while other drivers pull-up behind them trying to pass vehicles, which then leads to aggressive driving.
Some argued the measure was not needed as Tennessee law already requires drivers to keep right when passing. However, the possibility of being fined may encourage drivers to obey this rule at all times.
At Greg Coleman Law, we have seen first-hand the devastating impacts of aggressive driving. If you or someone you love is injured in a crash caused by an aggressive driver, contact a licensed Knoxville personal injury lawyer from our firm today. We offer free consultations to help you determine your legal options.