Does Ohio need a ‘slow poke law’?


For many drivers, there’s nothing more exasperating than being stuck behind someone going below the speed limit or slower than the flow of traffic in the passing lane, the left lane.

Left-lane drivers going slower can also make for more hazardous traveling conditions by blocking those needing to pass, which has led to cases of road rage.

» POPULAR NEWS: As temperatures drop, Springfield shelters fill

States such as Oklahoma have recently passed new “slow poke laws,” which will fine drivers for driving in the passing lane for no reason outside of metropolitan areas where traffic is heavier. But should Ohio adopt a similar practice?

According to a listing from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ohio is one of a handful of states including Maryland and North Carolina that has little to no regulation regarding passing lane use. Most states with tougher laws have requirements which either force people to yield to overtaking traffic when safe to do so or prohibit left lane use entirely unless passing or turning left.

States surrounding Ohio already have some left-lane laws in effect. In Indiana, the left lane is restricted to passing only, and in Kentucky, traffic must keep right except to pass in areas where the speed limit is at least 65. Pennsylvania is a little more lenient, as it allows left lane use in order to let other vehicles merge onto the highway. Michigan has drivers keep right except to pass heavy traffic or on three-lane highways.

Ohio’s statehouse has focused mainly on speed limits in terms of keeping an eye on maintaining the state’s highway traffic situation. Gov. John Kasich introduced legislation which would allow for variable speed limits depending on congestion in March. A report released by the Associated Press in November, however, noted there has been a spike in road-related fatalities in Ohio after the state increased the speed limit to 70 in rural areas in 2013.

Past studies have shown states that establish left-lane laws see a reduction in road rage incidents, but there has been no correlation noted between the adoption of left-lane laws and a reduction in road-related accidents or fatalities.

More popular stories

Springfield drone center connects to statewide network, could boost jobs

Ohio voters may change way Congress lines are drawn

No more waiting? Kroger looks to eliminate checkout lanes



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

Solutions from local opioid forums presented to state leaders
Solutions from local opioid forums presented to state leaders

Proposed solutions to Ohio’s addiction crisis that grew out of a collaboration between journalists and local communities will be presented to Gov. John Kasich’s office. Through a series of community forums, including five in southwest Ohio in February, journalists with Your Voice Ohio heard from an estimated 500 individuals who have been...
What is State Issue 1 on the May ballot?
What is State Issue 1 on the May ballot?

On May 8, Ohio voters will decide on major changes to how Ohio draws district lines for members of Congress. The issue, put on the ballot by the General Assembly by a bi-partisan vote of 83-10 in the House and a unanimous vote in the Senate, is supposed to create a fairer process. After every census, Ohio lawmakers change the state’s congressional...
Gov. Kasich orders review of Ohio gun background check program
Gov. Kasich orders review of Ohio gun background check program

Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed an executive order Monday to get an update on weaknesses in the state’s gun background-check system. Failure by local courts and law enforcement to send timely data to the state, which forwards it to National Instant Criminal Background Check System, could mean guns are being purchased by people who are ineligible...
Guns, minimum wage top issues in Democratic governor primary
Guns, minimum wage top issues in Democratic governor primary

Four years ago, Ohio Democrats pushed hard for a gubernatorial candidate who looked good on paper and found one: Ed FitzGerald. The campaign was soon run aground by scandal — including news reports that he had been questioned by police after they found him in a parked car in the early morning hours with a woman who was not his wife — and...
Fire Mueller? Don’t do it, Ohio Republicans say
Fire Mueller? Don’t do it, Ohio Republicans say

Most Ohio lawmakers on Capitol Hill — including Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton — say it would be a mistake for President Donald Trump to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, though taking action to block the president from doing so has more opposition among local Republicans. “We need to let Special Counsel...
More Stories