Left lanes are for passing: A look at 'slow poke' laws in the Tri-State

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Drivers who creep into the left lane on a highway and linger create a real nightmare for drivers -- not to mention it's against the law in Kentucky.

This nightmare can be especially real for truckers, who can be hauling tens of thousands of pounds behind them.

When asked how dangerous this is for truckers, Skyler Hergenrader replied with one word: "Extremely."

"You're supposed to pass in the left lane," said Kentucky State Trooper Charles Loudermilk.

Kentucky law says get over or get fined.

"The left lane isn't meant for somebody to just sit there. It's meant to pass, then you get over when it's safe to do so," said Loudermilk.

FOX19 NOW recently took a drive, and it didn't take long to find someone compromising the left lane.

Not five minutes in, a black pick-up truck tried multiple times to hijack the left lane until a trucker drove him back to the right.

"As a driver, it's terrifying. You can kill somebody in a split second," said Hergenrader, who covers a lot of ground between the Tri-State and Youngstown.

He said, when you're hauling anywhere from 65,000 to 80,000 pounds behind you, hitting the brakes can be panic-inducing.

Loudermilk said there numbers don't lie when it comes to congestion.

"If a vehicle was traveling at 10 mph or slower in the left lane, it could effectively start to cause back-ups a mile plus," said Loudermilk.

  • So you can be cited for improper use of the left lane in Kentucky?
    • "That's for people just maintaining that left lane and not actually getting over," said Loudermilk.
    • There are plenty of signs on Kentucky highways telling drivers to keep right except to pass.
  • Ohio has considered the left lane, or so-called "slow-poke" law a few times, but it keeps getting shut down.
  • Indiana has had the law in place a couple years now.

It's also illegal to pass in the right lane in Kentucky. Fines can be as high as $500, depending on the mistake and whether the driver is paying attention.

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