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The new “Slowpoke” law

Starting July 1, check your speed in the left lane

By Jeff Terrill

Fort Wayne Reader

2015-06-18


It’s July 1, 2015. Ellen, a seventy-nine year old great grandmother of five, is driving in the right lane of the interstate. Ellen is a safe driver. She notices small pebbles are bouncing out of the pick-up truck that is in front of her in the right lane. Ellen slows down a bit with the hope that she can avoid getting hit by the debris. Unfortunately, the truck slows down too.

Ellen signals, speeds up and gets into the left lane to pass the truck. Ellen is driving the speed limit, 70 mph, which seems to be a bit faster than the truck ahead of her. After a minute or so, Ellen still hasn’t been able to get ahead of the truck to her right. She’s relieved to no longer be driving behind the truck but she struggles to get in front of it and back into the right lane.

Ellen notices a car traveling behind her in the left lane. The man seems upset with Ellen. Ellen is getting more nervous. Several cars are behind her now in the left lane. She really doesn’t want to speed.

Ellen finally speeds up so she can get around the truck and back into the right lane. A couple of minutes later, Ellen notices a police car behind her with its lights activated. Ellen pulls over to the side of the interstate. A female officer approaches. Ellen quickly apologizes for speeding.

The police officer informs Ellen that she’s being ticketed for driving the speed limit in the left lane. The officer explains that Ellen violated the new law when she failed to yield to faster moving left lane travelers.

The new ‘slowpoke’ law takes effect in Indiana on July 1, 2015. Any driver who fails to move out of the left lane for faster moving cars behind it can be fined up to $500. Some exceptions apply, such as inclement weather conditions, traffic congestion, left lane turns, yielding to emergency vehicles and paying tolls.

Critics of the new law say that it condones speeding and penalizes safe drivers. Many states have some type of ‘slowpoke’ lane restriction. Some states criminalize left lane driving by making it a misdemeanor. A slow left lane driver in Indiana can be ticketed under the new law but not charged with a crime. Proponents of the new law believe it will make roads safer and decrease instances of road rage.

So, watch out for the left lane. If you’re in it, make sure you’re not frustrating the driver behind you.

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Jeff Terrill is a partner/shareholder with the law firm of Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. Mr. Terrill represents clients accused of crimes throughout northeast Indiana. You can contact Mr. Terrill with any questions or comments at his office at 260.420.7777 or via email at jterrill@fortwaynedefense.com. Learn more about his firm at www.fortwaynedefense.com. This article expressed opinions and observations of the author, is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader. Please consult a qualified attorney with any legal questions or issues you might have. Thank you

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