‘Left lane for passing only’ not a suggestion — it’s the law

sports cars on the highway

Alert travelers see the signs alongside the highway – “Left Lane for Passing Only.” For many, the warning has sunk in and become a habit, but some drivers have forgotten to heed those signs or are just ignoring them altogether. Discounting the honking cars racing up from behind them, or just lackadaisically cruising along in the “fast lane,” these drivers may not realize the message on these signs is not mere warning – it’s the law.

Trooper Stephanie Davis with the Texas Department of Public Safety warns state troopers are on the lookout for scofflaws who don’t abide by the Texas Transportation Codes, including those left-lane drivers who refuse to yield to faster traffic.

“Troopers routinely work patrol on the interstate, state highways and county roads and conduct traffic stops for numerous violations, including those where drivers drive in the left lane,” Trooper Davis reports. “Where there are posted signs (Left Lane Passing Only, for example), a driver could be cited for Driving Left Lane Not Passing, which is a Class C Misdemeanor.”

That translates to a big fine, up to $500, plus court costs, for the offensive drivers.

According to Sec. 544.011 of the Texas Transportation Code, “If, on a highway having more than one lane with vehicles traveling in the same direction, the Texas Department of Transportation or a local authority places a sign that directs slower traffic to travel in a lane other than the farthest left lane, the sign must read ‘left lane for passing only.’”

Trooper Davis and DPS suggest drivers watch for signs on Texas multi-lane highways that read “Left Lane For Passing Only,” and adhere to directions provided by the signs. Also, the left lane is not a “fast” lane, in spite of what many drivers may believe. Rather, it is a passing lane.

DPS cautions, “Impeding the flow of traffic by continuing to drive in the left lane is punishable by a fine. After you pass someone, move into the right lane once you’ve safely cleared the vehicle.”