Point/ counter point: Left Lane Law


Using the left lane for anything other than passing another car and using a left-lane exit ramp violates the Left Lane 

By Nothern Star Opinion Staff

Only use the left lane for passing

Jordan Radloff | Contributor

Even though the left lane tends to allow drivers to travel faster than the right lane, it is important for drivers to obey state laws that prohibit using the passing lane improperly.

In January, the Illinois State Police announced on Facebook its plan to covertly crack down on drivers who stay in the left lane for too long.

The police plan to use unmarked patrol vehicles to enforce these laws which can be a good measure to prevent people from causing traffic and road rage incidents on the interstate roads

Students who commute or frequently travel home should be educated about this law and its punishments. With the holidays coming up, students may have to use highways to get home, and this law may affect them more than they realize.

The 2004 Left Lane Law lays out a set of rules that designate the purpose of the passing lane on interstate highways.

Only certain circumstances allow drivers to be in the left lane, including passing or overtaking another vehicle in the right lane, preparing to use a left-lane exit ramp, poor road conditions, heavy traffic, staying clear of emergency vehicles in the right lane and moving over for vehicles merging onto the highway from an entrance ramp.

Keeping the left lane clear can result in multiple benefits for highway travelers. A car remaining in the left lane for a long stretch of time may make it difficult for any cars behind it to be able to pass other cars in the right lane.

Violators can expect to receive a $120 ticket for breaking the 15-year-old state traffic law. This should be a valid deterrent to keep drivers from abusing the passing lane.

While driving to nearby cities on highways such as Highway 88 or Illinois Route 47, it is important to know when it is appropriate to get into the left lane.

The left lane state traffic law are implemented for the purpose of helping commuters arrive at their destination faster and shouldn’t be seen as a hassle.

Road rage can sometimes be a result of this issue when drivers get frustrated by another driver who is prohibiting them from getting around slower traffic in the right lane. The efforts of the Illinois State Police to prevent these situations can only benefit the safety of drivers.

While the use of unmarked vehicles may seem like an extreme way to keep the left lane clear, it is necessary to catch the irresponsible drivers who need to be more aware of the proper use of the left lane in the first place.

Left Lane Law creates dangerous conditions

Hunter Weston | Contributor

Since 2004 in Illinois, cars have been required to use the express lane, or farthest left lane of traffic, solely for passing. Police recently decided to crack down on those who decide to outstay their welcome in the express lane.

Having drivers stay in the right lane and only pass in the express lane is going to cause more road rage and aggravation.

“I feel like [the law is] ineffective,” Christopher Manning, junior health sciences major, said. “It’s not going to do anything but just cause people to get mad and just cause stress. I think more people are going to try to still be in that lane because that’s the way they’re used to driving to work or driving to wherever they’re going.”

Illinois State Troopers said staying in the left lane for too long creates more road rage among drivers and accidents, according to a Jan. 9 Illinois Policy article.

As long as there are some who believe this law is ridiculous and ineffective and in turn don’t follow the law, cops cracking down on this law might not make a difference.

The law states cars must stay in the right lane unless passing another car. By requiring drivers to stay in the right lane, this essentially just moves the original issue of drivers developing road rage in the express lane to the other lanes.

“So many accidents are due to people staying in the left lane and blocking traffic,” State Representative John Millner said in a January 2004 Chicago Tribune article. “That leads to road rage and people whipping around them to pass on the right.”

By shifting the lanes, drivers will simply be whipping and passing through the express lane now.

The Illinois Insurance Institute lists failure to keep in proper lane as the third most dangerous driving behavior after driving too fast and driving under the influence.

When given the option of driving in the express lane and right lane, there is less merging. If everyone followed the express lane law, a lot more people will be merging over, and therefore more accidents could occur.