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States begin to crack down on left-lane campers

Jericho, NY, Wednesday, March 17, 2010: The evening

Jericho, NY, Wednesday, March 17, 2010: The evening rush hour traffic beginning to intensify as the sun sets Wednesday March 17, on the Long Island Expressway looking west at exit 40 in Jericho. Newsday/ J. Conrad Williams Jr. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Ah, the left-lane passing law. Some are oblivious to it. Others use it to fuel their road rage. In either case, it could be dangerous.

New York State law VTL-1120 from the state's Division of Criminal Justice Services states that slower drivers must keep right. The rule is rarely enforced here but other states have begun cracking down on left-lane campers.

Last week, Washington state troopers pulled over 223 left-lane campers in one day for ignoring the law. The police ended up letting 199 drivers off with just a warning.

According Seattle’s King5 news report, many of the drivers didn't know it was against the law. The state troopers told them to stay out of the left lane if traveling below freeway speeds and not to travel continuously in the left lane.

In Kansas, a 2009 law took the left lane rules further. It is illegal to drive in the far left-hand lane "except when passing or turning left or when instructed to do so by traffic-control devices or officers."

Trooper Mark Engholm of the Kansas Highway Patrol told USA Today that "the law is designed to reduce road rage and prevent motorists from trying risky maneuvers."

Here’s hoping that some of this common sense makes it to New York.

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