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Local

Police: Stop camping out in left lane, it's for passing only

Illinois law since 2004 makes it illegal to use left lane, except for passing

Vehicles travel south on Interstate 55 on Monday. April 7, 2014 in Channahon.
Vehicles travel south on Interstate 55 on Monday. April 7, 2014 in Channahon.

Illinois State Police District 17 Commander, Captain Victor Markowski, would like to remind drivers that the left lane on all controlled access roadways (interstates and highways with on/off ramps) is for passing only.

This has been an Illinois law since January 1, 2004 (625 ILCS 5/11-701 d). The law states that a motorist cannot drive in the furthest left lane, on a roadway with multiple lanes dedicated to the same direction, unless actively passing.

If a motorist is driving in the left lane and refuses to move to the right, when a faster traveling vehicle comes up behind, that motorist can receive a citation. This law is designed to reduce lane changes, keep traffic flowing smoothly, and above all else, ensure the safety of all motorists.

Those drivers that choose to stay in the left lane, no matter what, have traditionally been called “campers.” 

Just like at a campground, these drivers set up in the left lane and claim it as their own.

“No one can claim any part of the roadway. We must all share the roadway,” Captain Markowski said in a press release.

One consequence of left lane “campers” is the increased possibility of triggering a road rage incident.  With temperatures on the rise, tempers go up and patience declines. Faster drivers tend to be more aggressive drivers and as their aggression builds, it can turn to rage. Their positive decision making ability deteriorates.

This is a recipe for disaster. Some drivers think they are making the roads safer by driving in the left lane, slowing traffic down. Studies show this is not the case. A driver has one job behind the wheel, get their vehicle and the occupants to their destination safely.

If someone is driving recklessly, call 911 and provide the relevant information to the police (location, vehicle, and driving behavior information.)

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