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Illegal to drive in left lane for more than half mile?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
From cnn.com:
...And Illinois makes it illegal to drive in the left lane of an interstate highway for more than one-half mile. (Violators can be fined $79).

Anyone from Illinois here who can explain the details of this?

I get the idea of the law, but the practicality of the law, at least as stated so briefly by CNN, baffles me. What happens under heavy traffic conditions when traffic fills all available lanes and that's still not enough to keep traffic flowing? Does the law specifically exempt such conditions, or does it technically make everyone slowly creeping along in the left lane of a traffic jam a lawbreaker after half a mile of 10 mph driving?

If there is no exemption for such traffic conditions, I absolutely cannot imagine a big traffic jam where the left lane is left clear except for a few people doing half-mile sprints and then dutifully merging back into another lane. It won't happen. Even if by some weird unnatural process of behavioral modification this did happen, the end result would be a slower, longer traffic jam due to not maximizing available driving resources.

I really dislike the idea of a law that makes normal, sensible behavior technically illegal, giving police the power to ticket from among those people whomever they wish.
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post #2 of 20
Youi thought that was something?

http://homepages.nildram.co.uk/~jimella/laws01.htm
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post #3 of 20
I think that's a great law and I hope the state police do an effective job enforcing it.
post #4 of 20
Here's a better description of Illinois left lane law. Bold is mine

SAFER HIGHWAYS WITH LEFT LANE LAW

Quote:
Ask most Illinois drivers what their biggest pet peeve is and many will respond in unison: "slow drivers in the left lane." It is primarily a safety concern, and on a multi lane highway, drivers who detain others in the left lane cause more problems than simply annoying the drivers who want to pass.

Thanks to a new law crafted by State Rep. John Millner (R-St. Charles), a former police chief himself, safer and more courteous driving on Illinois' highways will be more than every driver's wish. _The "left lane bill," House Bill 1574, will be the law of Illinois starting January 1, 2004.

Illinois law already states that on Interstate highways a vehicle must drive in the right lane, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle. Still many drivers ignore this law and drive at slow speeds in the left lane, creating traffic congestion and decreasing safety.

Instead, our new law prohibits detaining traffic in the left lane on Interstate highways._ The legislation outlines specific situations where it is not in violation of the new law to remain in the left lane. They are:__
  • when passing another vehicle

  • when no other vehicle is directly behind the vehicle in the left lane,

  • when traffic conditions and congestion make it impractical to drive in the right lane;

  • when snow or other inclement weather conditions make it necessary to drive in the left lane;

  • when obstructions or hazards exist in the right lane;

  • when approaching an emergency vehicle or highway construction area;

  • when exiting the highway from the left lane;

  • when it is necessary to use I-PASS or to comply with an official traffic control device; or

  • when changing lanes to avoid law enforcement vehicles, emergency vehicles, highway maintenance vehicles, and workers or personnel.

_I've been asked if one is driving the speed limit in the left lane and cars come up form behind speeding, is the car in the left lane at fault._ If one is detaining traffic in the left, it is their obligation to move over to the right._ The lead car in the left is not responsible to be the enforcer of the law, not to be the hall monitor._ It would be their obligation to get out of the left lane and let the law enforcement officials ticket the speeders. I've had people tell me that they like to drive in the left lane because it is smoother than the deteriorated right lane. That's all well and good, but if one is detaining traffic in the left, move over, let them pass, and then go back to the left._ Lead foot drivers . . . beware!
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
It's good to know that the wording of the law does specify sensible conditions when driving in the left lane is okay.
We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
Reply
post #6 of 20
damn, scott beat me by a minute.
we'll see if this is an enforceable law or not. i preferred my idea of side mounted bazookas.

now if we could just do something about pedestrians crossing in the loop before the get the walk light. my idea of making it legal to run them over has fallen on deaf ears.
post #7 of 20
I don't know about this law, but I've got a question about left-passing lanes: Does it apply to non-highways?

A couple days ago, I was in a 35mph commercial district - you know, strip malls and fast food and such on either side of a 4-lane road (two each direction). I was in the left lane because I was turning left in a half mile or so - I didn't need to be there, I could have stayed right and then got left when I needed to. But I figured I'd get in my lane so I didn't have to worry about changing lanes later. So some guy got on my tail and started acting like I should get over in the right lane for him.

It seems to me that on a road like that, you should get in the lane you need to be in and then stay there, rather than changing lanes repeatedly. But I don't know - maybe you're supposed to stay on the right unless you pass or turn left. But it seems different from a highway, where you almost never can turn left.
post #8 of 20
IMO the "left lane for passing" only applies to controlled access interstate highways. This new law only applies to those highways.
post #9 of 20
Next all we need is a good ban of cell phones when driving.

After a discussion recently about cell phones and bad drivers, the lady and I have been paying attention to each mistake a driver makes around us on the road (changing lanes or turning without looking, speeding up and slowing down excessively, etc). So far, it's been 100% drivers on cell phones.
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by Scott
IMO the "left lane for passing" only applies to controlled access interstate highways.

There are a lot of two lane roads in rural areas where drivers should stay to the right. I thought I was told once that wisconsin had a law that covered those roads as well, but I don't know for sure.

But, yeah, from what you posted it looks like in illinois it's only interstates.
post #11 of 20
A big reason for this law is the fact that many traffic studies have been done that prove that a good number of accidents are caused by slower drivers in the left lanes and people just cruising in the left lanes. Much of this info was gathered from Germany by studying the autobahns. From what I understand you rarely see a car in the passing lane for more than a few seconds before they head back to the cruising lanes. I could be wrong, but that was the gist of the explanation that I got in the Chicago Tribune. Being from Chicago, I'm hoping this law is enforced and I hope it helps to make our roads safer. And bring on the driving with a cell phone ban too!
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post #12 of 20
This is only semi-related, but: States need to get moving and replace outdated freeway interchanges that include left-hand on-ramps and on-ramps. These things were usually built in the '50s when apparently no one drove over 55 mph in the left lane.

When I lived in Milwaukee I was sure I would be someday be killed in the Marquette Interchange downtown between I-94 and I-43. And here in Mpls.-St. Paul I have to merge into a left lane every day to and from work (To those who know the Twin Cities: It's the I-94 interchange with Hwy. 280). It sucks!

Driving to work I have to merge into the left lane of westbound I-94, occasionally stuck behind a car going just 45 or 50 mph on the on-ramp. Then as we're about to merge I look into my side mirror and see a semi on I-94 coming up on us going 70 ... I've had a few near-death experiences there. Then driving home, I have to go 70 mph in the left lane on I-94 to keep up, then suddenly brake to 50 or 55 mph as I take the left-hand off-ramp onto 280 because it's so sharp that if I go any faster I'll go flying over the guard rail. Grrrrr.

Anyway. Pet peeve of mine. I don't want to die because highway engineers were idiots back in 1953.
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post #13 of 20
I'm not sure I agree with this law - a half mile on a 65 mph highway is less than 30 seconds. There could be plenty of times you could legitimately be in the left lane for more than 30 seconds, like if you're passing multiple cars. It could cause more problems, if people are trying to duck in and out under the time limit, and do something stupid.
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
I'm not sure I agree with this law - a half mile on a 65 mph highway is less than 30 seconds. There could be plenty of times you could legitimately be in the left lane for more than 30 seconds, like if you're passing multiple cars. It could cause more problems, if people are trying to duck in and out under the time limit, and do something stupid.

Could you please read the thread before posting? Your situation is clearly covered by the exceptions.
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by CaseCom


When I lived in Milwaukee I was sure I would be someday be killed in the Marquette Interchange downtown between I-94 and I-43. And here in Mpls.-St. Paul I have to merge into a left lane every day to and from work (To those who know the Twin Cities: It's the I-94 interchange with Hwy. 280). It sucks!


when i lived in milwaukee, everytime i was on the marquette interchange i asked the question "what numbnuts designed this?"
never found out.
then i moved to chicago and found out he's done much work here too.
like the northbound 94 to west 290 interchange. same guy. has to be.
post #16 of 20
I believe this law was already passed in PA... though for some reason I was pretty sure it was 1 mile instead of half. I guess I wasn't driving before the law was enacted, but it isn't a problem at all and is nice to often have the left lane open more. It isn't like it sounds though, I mean there are still people who cruise in the left, and still impatient people who 75 in a 65 isn't fast enough and pass on the right. And rush hour in the morning and night, both lanes are filled with drivers. Nothing is really different, but it's nice for the slower drivers to normally be in the right lane.
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post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by Scott
Could you please read the thread before posting? Your situation is clearly covered by the exceptions.

Read the thread before posting? Well, that would break a long-standing policy of mine, but I suppose I could make it a New Years' resolution.
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by superkarate monkeydeathcar
when i lived in milwaukee, everytime i was on the marquette interchange i asked the question "what numbnuts designed this?"
never found out.
then i moved to chicago and found out he's done much work here too.
like the northbound 94 to west 290 interchange. same guy. has to be.

I'm pretty convinced that the worlds dumbest people sat around and designed the freeway system in northern Illinois. Things could be worse, but not much. Your right about this superkarate.
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post #19 of 20
You gotta be kidding me. Milwaukee's system is twice as bad as anything in Chicago. The only areas that are really FUBAR IMO are the big mess of interchanges between 294 / 290 ... down by Elmhurst. Though the one you're talking about is pretty snarled too (294/90/190). That and the interchanges down south of the city by Gary.

And worse than Milwaukee by a long ways is Atlanta. By FAR the most poorly designed roadway system I've ever seen. The designers must've been convinced Atlanta would never have more than a million people because it's absolutely gridlock down there every weekday.
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post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by Moogs
You gotta be kidding me. Milwaukee's system is twice as bad as anything in Chicago. The only areas that are really FUBAR IMO are the big mess of interchanges between 294 / 290 ... down by Elmhurst. Though the one you're talking about is pretty snarled too (294/90/190). That and the interchanges down south of the city by Gary.

And worse than Milwaukee by a long ways is Atlanta. By FAR the most poorly designed roadway system I've ever seen. The designers must've been convinced Atlanta would never have more than a million people because it's absolutely gridlock down there every weekday.

i don't ever remember having a huge problem getting around milwaukee except for the marquette, but i haven't lived there for 5 years. i rode my bike to work in milwaukee too. if you ride your bike frequently in a city you usually find pretty nifty traffic workarounds.
the thing i hated most about milwaukee is i have a pretty healthy fear of heights, some of those roads are like 150 feet up. ugh.
hey i saw norquist stepped down today. i think he really helped milwaukee.
too bad they never listened to him about the ballpark.
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