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Troopers pulled over 13.5K left-lane campers in 2017

(AP)

Washington State Patrol troopers have stopped more than 13,000 drivers for camping in the left lane this year. It seems that some drivers may be getting the hint to keep right.

“We’re constantly getting complaints from citizens about other drivers committing this violation,” Trooper Heather Axtman said. “We’re out there trying to stop as many cars as we can for left-lane camping as it can contribute to several road rage incidents and the overall flow of traffic that could lead to more backups and delays.”

RELATED: Semi-trucks and the fast lane in Washington

“Left-lane camping” is when a driver remains in the left lane for an extended period of time instead of using the left lane for passing. This often causes other cars to line up behind them in the lane, slowing traffic in general.

Left lane campers

Though troopers have pulled over thousands of drivers in 2017 for left lane offenses — 13,413 — they have not pulled over as many as they have in previous years. Troopers pulled over more than 16,000 drivers in 2016. Trooper Axtman says that troopers have noticed a decrease in the numbers.

  • 2015: 13,909
  • 2016: 16,454
  • 2017: 13,413 (to date)

Washington state troopers have conducted a handful of emphasis patrols for left lane campers in 2017 — most recently in June. Troopers were also on the hunt in March. During these patrols, they pull over drivers who are driving slower than traffic behind them in the left lane. Washington law is pretty clear on this — the left lane is not a fast lane, rather, it is for passing other vehicles. Slower traffic must keep right. There are separate, but similar rules for semi-trucks.

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