The law you probably ignore every day
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- There's a law that is routinely ignored by drivers every day, and local officials are planning to start making you more aware of it.
Texas law prohibits driving in the left lane of multiple lane roadways unless for the purposes of passing other vehicles or making a left turn. Violators of this statute clog freeways and highways causing needless obstructions to the smooth flow of traffic.
Troopers tell us people who drive in the left lane create a dangerous situation for everyone on the road because traffic builds around them. They say this violation is also cited in many road rage incidents.
"What we are looking for is a driver that is causing a hazard to oncoming motorist," Trper Stephen Woodard with the Dept. of Public Safety. "If that driver is driving at a speed limit to where it is causing a hazard to the on-coming traffic then we are going to stop that driver and advise them."
Because this statute appears to be relatively unknown and is rarely enforced, law enforcement in our area is conducting an enforcement effort to get people out of the left lane unless they are passing or turning left. Department of Public Safety troopers in Montgomery and Fort Bend County are the lead agencies on this initiative. Officers from multiple agencies will hit the roads and if they see violators, traffic warnings or traffic tickets will be issued. Not obeying the posted signs is considered a Class C Misdemeanor with a ticket fine starting at $200 and going up from there.
545.051. DRIVING ON RIGHT SIDE OF ROADWAY. (a) An operator on a roadway of sufficient width shall drive on the right half of the roadway, unless:
(1) the operator is passing another vehicle;
(2) an obstruction necessitates moving the vehicle left of the center of the roadway and the operator yields the right-of-way to a vehicle that:
(A) is moving in the proper direction on the unobstructed portion of the roadway; and
(B) is an immediate hazard;
(3) the operator is on a roadway divided into three marked lanes for traffic; or
(4) the operator is on a roadway restricted to one-way traffic.
(b) An operator of a vehicle on a roadway moving more slowly than the normal speed of other vehicles at the time and place under the existing conditions shall drive in the right-hand lane available for vehicles, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, unless the operator is:
(1) passing another vehicle; or
(2) preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
(c) An operator on a roadway having four or more lanes for moving vehicles and providing for two-way movement of vehicles may not drive left of the center line of the roadway except:
(1) as authorized by an official traffic-control device designating a specified lane to the left side of the center
of the roadway for use by a vehicle not otherwise permitted to use the lane;
(2) under the conditions described by Subsection (a)(2); or
(3) in crossing the center line to make a left turn into or out of an alley, private road, or driveway.
Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.
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