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OPINION | DRIVETIME MAHATMA: No camping out in the left lane, pass it along

by Frank Fellone | September 11, 2021 at 3:50 a.m.

Dear Mahatma: The subject of keeping or moving to the right to allow faster traffic to pass comes up often. On several stretches of interstate, such as Interstate 30 between Little Rock and Benton, where there are more than two lanes, trucks are restricted to the right two lanes. Why hasn't this been done on the North Little Rock to Conway section of Interstate 40? What about other three-lane sections of interstate?-- Frustrated and Impatient

Dear F and I: Others have asked the I-40 question and the answer from the Arkansas Department of Transportation remains the same, but with some added context.

The I-40 section from North Little Rock to Conway would need to be studied to determine if that section should also be regulated and trucks relegated to the right two lanes. We're also told by David Nilles, who speaks for ArDot, that the General Assembly passed a law directing the agency to sign those few areas to relegate trucks to the right two lanes.

If we knew this about the General Assembly, we've forgotten. Forgive us. After 14 years of writing this thing, our brain cells are in steep decline.

Now, about getting the heck out of the passing lane generally, Nilles points out that the General Assembly passed Act 1090 in the 2019 legislative session, a law that became effective on July 28 of this year. The act modified Arkansas Code Annotated 27-51-301.

The law now tells us that use of the left lane of a multilane highway is for only four actions: Overtaking or passing; when all other lanes are closed to traffic; when all other lanes are in disrepair or not driveable; or when exiting to the left.

Before Act 1090, the law prohibited slower traffic from being in the left lane of a multilane highway, meaning vehicles in the left lane were required to move to the right for a faster vehicle.

So Act 1090 is more stringent. More like Texas, which should make happy those readers who have advocated in this space that we do what Texas does. (Insert sarcastic comments about Texas.)

Wait! There's more!

Nilles makes mention of those yellow signs telling motorists that slower traffic must get to the right, as state law requires. New signs are in production that will say "Left Lane For Passing Only." These signs will be put up over the next several months.

Dear Mahatma: When U.S. 67 becomes Interstate 57, I have heard log trucks and dump trucks will not be able to drive on it. -- Kelly Wants to Know

Dear Kelly: Not the case, says Major Jeffery Bickerstaff of the Arkansas Highway Police, an agency whose primary function is regulating the trucking industry.

Here's a wrinkle, though: Log trucks or dump trucks can use any highway in the state, but the Federal Highway Administration has a rule that no vehicle can exceed 80,000 pounds on interstate highways and bridges.

Vanity plate seen in Fort Smith: LIC TAG.

Print Headline: Law clear: Fast lane for passing


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