‘I stopped this vehicle today for a left lane violation on I-65.’

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“My name is Stephen Wheeles and I am a sergeant with the Indiana State Police.  Recently, I conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle traveling southbound on I-65 in Bartholomew County, Indiana.  The vehicle was traveling in violation of Indiana’s “Left Lane Law” due to the vehicle traveling in the left lane with numerous vehicles stacked up behind it.  I followed the vehicle for 2 to 3 miles in the left lane without the driver attempting to pass anyone or move back to the right lane.  I made the female driver aware of what the law states and why she was in violation.  The woman was very receptive to the information and said she was unaware that she was in violation.  I issued the driver a warning and released her.

Due to my role as a public information officer, I decided to use the traffic stop as a teaching tool to make people aware of the law.  I tweeted a picture of the vehicle (with all identifying marks hidden) with a brief narrative explaining why the vehicle was stopped.

I had tweeted a similar picture with a narrative once before which got some minor attention.  I expected this tweet to perform about the same.  Well, for some reason this tweet took off and gained lots of attention nationally and around the world.  My tweet was tweeted by Indy Car Driver Graham Rahal and former NFL Quarterback Troy Aikman.

As of my writing this, the tweet has 63,312 likes and 20,811 retweets.  Numerous media outlets have picked up on the tweet and I have conducted numerous interviews.  It has been great to make the public aware of the law.  The majority of the comments to the tweet have been overwhelmingly positive.  I have had requests for me to patrol almost every state in the U.S. and numerous foreign countries. On Twitter, I think I have been nominated to be president, vice-president, and attorney general and should receive a medal, promotion, pay raise, and even the Nobel Peace Prize (for some reason).

I think this Tweet and information has spread so rapidly because it is a topic that people are passionate back.  Everyone travels on our interstate system and has gotten behind that person who stays in the left lane and will not move over.  I think people finally think someone is doing something about the left lane violators.  The current Indiana law was put in place in 2015.  It basically says that if you are in the left lane and there are cars behind you that wish to pass, you must move to the right lane and give those other vehicles the chance to overtake you.

One of the few criticisms of this law is that people think it encourages people to speed and they wonder why someone could get in trouble for going the speed limit in the left lane when the people wanting to pass are often going above the speed limit.  The Indiana State Police will definitely stop those people for speeding, often before we stop those people who are going slow in the left lane.  What people don’t realize is that by traveling at a slower speed in the left lane, traffic starts to stack up behind them.  That first person may be traveling 70 mph but 10-20 cars back, they are having to go 50 mph as everyone checks up.  This often results in rear end crashes occurring which leads to many injuries and property damage.  It’s all about safety!!”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Stephen Wheeles, of the Indiana State Police. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

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