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How a Left Lane Law violation can quickly turn into a big deal

You have likely heard about Colorado’s Left Lane Law. Established in 2004, it is one of the strictest rules in the country when it comes to regulating passing and non-passing lanes on highways. Its purpose is to prevent drivers from cruising continuously in the leftmost lane of these roads.

Accidentally remaining in this passing lane too long seems like a minor infraction. But here in Colorado, it can have real consequences.

The Left Lane Law: The basics

The Left Lane Law, as it is written, does not sound complicated. If you’re on a highway with a speed limit of 65 mph or higher, it’s illegal to drive in the leftmost (aka “passing”) lane, unless you are:

  • Passing a vehicle in a non-passing lane
  • Turning left
  • Unable to safely merge into the non-passing lane at that time

If a law enforcement officer believes a driver violated the Left Lane Law, they can issue a citation.

Penalties for violating the Left Lane Law

What happens if you receive one of these citations? The penalties include a fine of up to $100, depending on previous offenses, as well as 3 points added to your license. (In certain circumstances, if a driver acts quickly, they may be able to reduce it to 2 points.)

Keep in mind, it does not take many points before the state suspends your license. For an 18-year-old, 9 points in a single year will do it – meaning a Left Lane Law violation could put you one-third of the way there. Adults age 21 and up need just 12 points in a single year to get hit with a suspension.

If you already have a couple of recent infractions, these 3 points could push you above the threshold. Small citations can also pile up, leading to a “habitual traffic offender” tag. It’s a designation that can come with severe penalties.

Challenging a minor violation, such as one involving the Left Lane Law, could make the difference between keeping your license and losing it for many months.

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