WSP has issued over 13,000 “Left Lane Camper” Citations this year so far.


The Washington State Patrol has issued over 13,000 “Left Lane Camper” citations this year so far.  Some of you might be a little confused as to what this is. Washington State law says that drivers can drive in the left lane only if they are passing a slower vehicle that is on the right. Otherwise, stay out of the left lane-it’s the Law. Often troopers will pull a left-lane traveler over to give them a warning and take a minute to educate them regarding the rules of the road.  Washington state is one of only 10 states that restricts the left lane to a passing only lane.

What is the left lane driving law?

Wondering what exactly the law says about this left lane conundrum? The left lane is designed for passing on highways, according to the Washington State Patrol, but many drivers still “camp out,” not letting other drivers get past.

According to the law, RCW 46.61.100(2), “Upon all roadways having two or more lanes for traffic moving in the same direction, all vehicles shall be driven in the right hand lane then available for traffic, except for overtaking and passing another vehicle in the same direction, when traveling at a speed greater than the traffic flow, when moving left to allow traffic to merge or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection, exit or into a private road or driveway when such left turn is legally permitted.”

“Anytime that you’re on a highway with two or more lanes in the same direction, the left lane is a passing lane,” Trooper J.J. Gundermann explains in a promotional video.

Or more simply put: Keep right, except to pass.

There’s NO Fast Lane in Washington State

WSP troopers also want to remind drivers that a passing lane is not the “fast lane.” Speed limits still apply for all left-lane passers.

On multi-way roads you cannot speed in the left lane just to pass someone. The left lane is meant for those who wish to travel at the set speed limit to pass slower moving traffic. An example of speeding to pass, is when the speed limit is 60 mph and the car in front of you is doing 55 mph, and you speed up to 70 mph to get around them in the left lane. This is a cite-able offense.  You must travel at 60 mph in the left lane until you have passed the car on the right.

What are the consequences of left lane driving?

A driver who is trying to pass a left lane camper will often times start weaving through all lanes necessary to pass them. It opens the door for reckless and aggressive driving…and it puts every person on the road at risk. They also cause traffic congestion and slow emergency-response vehicles.

“We understand that in rush-hour traffic, which is almost all the time on certain roads … we’re obviously going to have people in the left lane,” state Trooper Johnson of the WSP. But on less busy roads or during slower traveling times, troopers expect motorists to follow the “keep right” rule.