CONCORD, NH – Among the three-dozen or so new laws on the books for 2019, the passing lane is now a genuine passing lane, as motorists are prohibited from continuous driving in the left-hand side of roadways, under section 265:16 of the state Motor Vehicles Rules of the Road statute.
There is now a $50 penalty – plus penalty assessment – for anyone found guilty of “impeding the flow of traffic” by hogging up the left lane, unless passing, by driving at or below the posted speed limit under normal road conditions.
You may use the left lane while overtaking or passing another vehicle going in the same direction.
This is one of the new state laws that took effect Jan. 1, 2019. The Concord Monitor has done a nice rundown on all the new legislation for 2019, which you can read here.
Read the full roadway statute below:
265:16 Drive on Right Side of Roadway; Exceptions.
I. Upon all roadways of sufficient width a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway, except as follows:
(a) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing such movement;
(b) When an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the way; provided, any person so doing shall yield the right of way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the unobstructed portion of the way within such distance as to constitute an immediate hazard;
(c) Upon a roadway divided into 3 marked lanes for traffic under the rules applicable thereon;
(d) Upon a city street designated and signposted for one-way traffic.
II. Upon all roadways any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
III. Upon any roadway having 4 or more lanes for moving traffic and providing for 2-way movement of traffic, no vehicle shall be driven to the left of the center line of the roadway, except when authorized by official traffic control devices designating certain lanes to the left side of the center of the roadway for use by traffic not otherwise permitted to use such lanes, or except as permitted under I(b) hereof.
[Paragraph IV effective January 1, 2019.]IV. Motor vehicles shall not be operated continuously in the left lane of a multilane roadway whenever it impedes the flow of other traffic at or below the posted speed limit unless reasonable and prudent under the conditions having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing. [Paragraph V effective January 1, 2019.]V. Any person who violates this section shall be guilty of a violation and shall be fined $50 plus penalty assessment.