Washington Cracks Down on Left-Lane Camping

Do you enjoy driving in the left lane on the freeway? It’s understandable — it’s less congested, and you can get where you’re going a lot more efficiently. But using the left lane for long periods, a.k.a. “left-lane camping,” is actually illegal. The left lane is for passing slower vehicles only; as soon as you pass the slower car, you should move back into the right lane.

Says Who?

According to Washington state law RCW 46.61.100, section 2, “all vehicles shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, except (a) when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, (b) when traveling at a speed greater than the traffic flow, (c) when moving left to allow traffic to merge, or (d) when preparing for a left turn at an intersection, exit, or into a private road or driveway when such left turn is legally permitted.”

Basically, use the left lane only when you need to pass a slower-moving vehicle, and make sure that you move back over to the right lane once you have passed that slow poke. As tempting as it may be to hang out in the left lane, it might cost you.

Expensive Consequences

Left-lane camping is a common offense. In 2016, Washington State Patrollers stopped over 16,000 people for camping in the left lane. If you are pulled over for staying the left lane too long, you can expect to pay a hefty fine of $136.

What Does This Mean for DUI?

An officer can pull you over for hanging out in the left lane, which can then lead to other complications. In fact, a recent case upheld left-lane camping as a legal basis for pulling you over and then discovering you were also driving under the influence. Simply put, driving continuously in the left lane is a traffic infraction for which an officer can pull you over. If you’ve been drinking or consuming controlled substances, you then run the risk of being charged with DUI or DWI. So, don’t take any unnecessary risks—just stick to the right lane unless you’re passing.

The Law Office of David Lousteau

The Law Office of David Lousteau