- Associated Press - Thursday, September 10, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The Oregon Court of Appeals gave a green light Thursday to motorists who refuse to speed when driving in the fast lane.

The court reversed the conviction of a man accused of drunken driving in April 2012 after a sheriff’s deputy stopped him for failure of a slow driver to drive on the right. Rian Patrick Murphy had been traveling 32 mph late at night on a road with a 35-mph speed limit. He said he was in the left lane because he was eventually going to make a left turn.

Murphy, 31, and his attorney sought to suppress evidence of drunken driving that was collected after he was pulled over, arguing that the deputy who had been following him for a mile and a half lacked probable cause for the traffic stop. A Multnomah County trial judge sided with the deputy, leading to the appeal.

The Appeals Court agreed with Murphy that 32 mph was not less than normal speed or too slow for the left lane. The opinion written by Judge James Egan notes that Murphy was only 4 mph away from exceeding the speed limit.

Murphy and the court also touched on the time of the stop - almost 3 a.m. Murphy entered into the record the advice included in the Oregon Driving Manual, which is put out by the state.

“Slow down after sunset,” the manual says. “You need the extra reaction time that slower speeds allow.”


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