- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 26, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Motorists obeying the speed limit in the left lanes of highways soon will be required to move over to allow faster vehicles to pass them or risk a $500 fine under a new Indiana law.

The law signed by Gov. Mike Pence earlier this month and taking effect July 1 gives faster drivers the right of way in so-called highway fast lanes and permits police to issue tickets to left-lane drivers who fail to budge when they should reasonably know another vehicle is overtaking them, The (Munster) Times reported (https://bit.ly/1Ki6qjs ).

State Rep. Jud McMillin, R-Brookville, said he sponsored the law to ensure “individuals who are driving in the fast lane slowly are properly incentivized to get out of your way.”

The mandate does not apply during traffic congestion, bad weather, while exiting on the left, paying a toll or pulling over for an emergency vehicle.

However, at all other times motorists risks fines if they are in the left lane and do not move to the right when another vehicle wants to pass.

The law was approved by the Indiana House 97-0 and cleared the Senate in a 29-20 vote.

State Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage, said during debate on the measure that it was “the silliest, most unjustifiable proposal of the entire session.”

“It really doesn’t make sense to put law-abiding citizens as the criminal here,” Tallian said. “You can be driving down the road at 70 miles per hour, doing the speed limit, and some joker comes up behind you doing 90 and you’re the one who gets the ticket?”

McMillin said numerous other states have similar laws and that it isn’t aimed at protecting speeders but to improve safety for all drivers.

“If you’re going the speed limit or you’re not going the speed limit, the left lane is the side to pass,” he said. “The law doesn’t say that you have to be in the right-hand lane all the time, it requires you to be there when it’s safe to do so.”

Tallian and state Sen. Jim Tomes, R-Wadesville, suggested that the new right-lane mandate likely would not be enforced since police officers more likely would pull over and ticket the speeding driver instead of the motorist blocking the speeder’s path.

“It’s really unenforceable, but it does go too far,” Tomes said. “I just think this is not what we need.”

Before passage of the new statute, Indiana law required vehicles traveling slower than the speed limit to use the right lane of a multi-lane highway, but did not address driving in the left lane.

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Information from: The Times, https://www.thetimesonline.com

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