Staying in the right lane except when passing or turning is the “courteous” thing to do as well as the law, a local law enforcement official said.
State law requires that drivers stay in the right lane on multilane highways, save for certain exceptions.
However, drivers often ignore the law and drive in the left lane, slowing traffic.
“Maybe they’re not aware, maybe they don’t care,” said Sgt. James Anderson, state police Troop D spokesman.
Anderson gave the example of a motorist staying in the left lane of U.S. 171 while traveling north across the Calcasieu River bridge until finally turning left in Moss Bluff.
“We see that quite often, unfortunately,” Anderson said.
“It boils down to being courteous. Being a courteous driver goes a long way toward minimizing incidents of road rage.”
Anderson said that while the desire is for the law to be followed through voluntary compliance, each shift at Troop D performs at least one detail every two weeks looking for the violations.
“That’s how important our troop commander, Capt. Chris Guillory, considers it,” Anderson said.
Blocking the left lane not only slows and clogs traffic, but also impedes the ability of first responders to do their jobs, Anderson said.
Anderson also said motorists shouldn’t refuse to let other drivers pass because they feel the other driver is going too fast.
“My advice is to go ahead and move out of the way and let us do our job of enforcing the speed limit,” Anderson said. “We may not get that person that day, but eventually, the odds will usually catch up to them.”
The law, Louisiana revised statute 32:71B, says that vehicles are only to enter the left lane of multilane highways when: preparing for a left turn; passing a vehicle in the same direction; or when right-hand lanes are congested.
“No vehicle being driven in the left lane except when directed otherwise or preparing for a left turn at an intersection, private road, or driveway shall impede any other vehicle that is traveling in the same lane and behind that vehicle,” the law says.
The law even states that motorists driving in the left lane at a speed slower than 10 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit may be subject to 30 days in prison.