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Why aren’t laws requiring drivers to stay to the right except when passing enforced?

Brian Freskos
I-140 sign and car

North Carolina law requires drivers to stay in the right lane except when authorized to pass. (StarNews file photo)

We posed this question to First Sgt. Troy Pope with the N.C. Highway Patrol’s Wilmington office. Here’s how he replied:

“If I understand the question correctly, you must first understand that this law provides for both two-lane and four-lane roads. It is intended to ensure that drivers operate their vehicles in the right lane on two lane roads unless authorized to pass. Then, the passing driver may drive left of the center line and safely pass.

A driver may also drive left of the center line if an obstruction exists that requires him to do so.

If a driver is operating the vehicle at less than the posted speed limit, the driver is to drive in the right most lane.

“The point to remember is that a driver is not authorized by this law to drive in excess of the posted speed limit due to the fact that another driver is operating his vehicle at the posted speed limit in the left hand lane on a dual lane highway. Doing so by misinterpreting this law would allow drivers to operate their vehicles in excess of the posted speed limit which is not authorized under GS 20-141.”

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4 Responses to “ Why aren’t laws requiring drivers to stay to the right except when passing enforced?”

  1. On January 5, 2012 at 12:20 pm Landon wrote:

    Sgt Pope didn’t really answer the question of why the law is not enforced. People go below the speed limit in the left hand lane of 4 lane roads all the time and I’ve never heard of anyone getting pulled over for it.

  2. On January 5, 2012 at 2:12 pm Anonymous wrote:

    … Unless you are a police officer then you can drive in excess of the speed limit whenever you want!!

  3. On January 5, 2012 at 4:58 pm Tracy wrote:

    The ones who irritate me are those who come up behind me driving 15 to 20 miles over the speed limit, while I am already driving 5 miles over the limit and then start tailgating, flashing their lights, shrugging their shoulders wanting me to speed up to pass those in the right lane so they can continue on their 85 m/h speed to nowhere. There are more nuts like this on the road than slower than posted drivers in the left lane. The real personalities of a person is when they are behind the wheel of a car and if they acted the same way in a line at a bank they would get what for.

  4. On January 12, 2012 at 4:41 pm Michelle Marks wrote:

    The fact that this trooper did not understand the question, nor answer the question is not surprising. This helps explain the congestion on our roads. Clearly, the person is asking why law enforcement does not enforce slow traffic in the right hand lane on a 4 lane road.
    It is our area’s worst traffic problem, by far, and based on my research, it is against the law to be in the left hand lane and hindering traffic behind you. All these officers have to do, is begin giving warning tickets to drivers that drive below the speed limit in the left hand lane and the word will spread.
    I don’t want to speed, but I do want to go the speed limit and I don’t want to take 10 minutes to get my car up to the speed limit.
    The super street improvements are greatly improving traffic in our area, including South College Road, but unfortunately, there are morons that never seem to look in the mirror at the traffic piled up behind them trying to get around them, while they are going the same speed as the driver / car beside them.

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