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How Does Indiana’s ‘Fast Lane’ Law Work?

An Indiana State Police trooper went viral last weekend for enforcing Indiana’s “left lane” law.

Sgt. Stephen Wheeles sent a Tweet Saturday about pulling over a driver on Interstate 35 near Indianapolis. He said the driver was in the fast lane, but was going slow enough to have about 20 vehicles behind her.

Indiana law requires drivers to move to the right lane to allow faster traffic to pass.

Sgt. Wheeles says since it went into effect in 2015, Indiana State Troopers have issued 4,688 warnings and 331 citations for violations.

But how does the “slow poke” law actually work?

The law is designed to make roads safer and keep traffic flowing. It applies to drivers who “reasonably know” a car behind them is trying to pass and still don’t get over.

Police say the left lane is for passing or overtaking a vehicle; at all other times, drivers should be in the right lane.

“There are two lanes for a reason,” Sgt. Curt Durnil told us in 2015. “And it is for traffic flow. I have talked to a highway engineer about that. His example is, if we want people to just stay at the same speed the entire time, and nobody moves like this, we would just have one lane.”

Police say they observe slow drivers over a period of time to determine if they’re violating the law.

But authorities don’t enforce it during bad weather, heavy traffic periods, or when drivers are exiting to the left, paying tolls or pulling over for an emergency vehicle.

A citation for violating the law can carry a fine of up to $500.

Watch: What police told us when the law went into effect in 2015

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