BOSTON (CBS) – If you’ve driven anywhere around here, you’ve surely experienced it – the clueless driver hogging the far-left lane that is supposed to be left free for passing.

Even though the rule of the road – stay right except when passing – has been hammered home in driver’s education classes for decades, it’s still largely ignored by many motorists.

It took us about ten seconds on a midday drive out the Mass Turnpike to see multiple offenders slowing down traffic and forcing others to pass them on the right.

And the Massachusetts State Police have a message to send as we hit the road for the holiday weekend – they will enforce the state law forbidding left-lane travel, at $105 per citation.

“It’s always prudent when those lanes to your right are open to move to those lanes and leave that left-hand lane open for emergency purposes and for anybody that wants to pass,” said State Police Lt. Col. Ed Amodeo, who oversees traffic enforcement . “That’s why the law exists.”

Amodeo says the police understand how congested local highways and arteries can get during rush hours, to the point where the left lane can be the only option for drivers who aren’t ready to exit. So enforcement of the passing-lane law will be mainly enforced at night and on weekends, when traffic is reduced.

But judging from what drivers we spoke with at the Natick rest stop on the Pike told us, the very existence of the law will still come as a surprise to many.

“I did not know it was against the law,” said one man. “I usually travel in the far left lane.”

Added another driver: “It’s illegal, yeah, but everybody does it!”

If your travels take you out of state this summer, better keep in mind that other states are far tougher on this infraction than Massachusetts.

In Georgia, hundreds of tickets have been doled out since the state passed a so-called “slow poke” law.

And with Beacon Hill on the lookout for new revenue sources, better to stay right than be sorry.

Jon Keller

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