Poll Says Washington Drivers Do Not Know Left-Lane Law

Forty-three percent of drivers in Washington State do not know that it is illegal to impede the flow of traffic in the left lane of a highway, according to a survey by Pemco Mutual Insurance Co., Seattle.

“Camping out” in the left lane in front of cars that want to go faster probably contributes significantly to traffic congestion on highways, Pemco said.

Washington State law says that vehicles should drive in the right lanes except when overtaking or passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when traveling faster than the traffic flow.

A press release from Pemco quoted the Washington State Patrol as saying that, while driving slowly in the left lane probably does not directly cause many accidents, it does cause driver anger and distraction, which is dangerous.

The survey also found that 47 percent of respondents agreed that persons driving slowly in the left-hand lane should be ticketed, even when they are driving the speed limit if it is impeding the pace of traffic.

Most respondents were more willing to tattle on others than themselves. Nine out of ten respondents reported regularly seeing people creeping along in the left lane with cars piling up behind. But, nine of ten respondents also said they had never blocked a left lane.

Pemco was conducted with 601 driver respondents, in April 2011.