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.