As of July 1, 2019, people driving below the speed limit in the leftmost lane of a Nevada highway may be cited for going too slow.
Nevada’s new left lane law
Under Nevada Assembly Bill 334 (2019), drivers must exit the leftmost lane if the drivers know — or reasonably should know — that:
- they are driving at a rate of speed that is below the posted speed limit, and
- they are being overtaken in that lane from the rear by a motor vehicle traveling faster
Current law already requires drivers to move to the extreme right lane if there are moving so slowly that they are impeding traffic (NRS 484B.627).
Exceptions to Nevada’s new left lane law
Drivers who are driving too slowly in the leftmost lane of a highway may remain there in either of the following six circumstances:
- the driver is overtaking another vehicle or preparing to turn left;
- the lane is designated for high-occupancy vehicles (an HOV lane), and the driver is otherwise driving lawfully;
- the driver is operating a vehicle engaged in highway construction, maintenance, or repair;
- it is necessary to drive in the extreme left lane due to traffic conditions, inclement weather, obstructions, hazards, or compliance with an official traffic control device or the directions of a peace officer;
- the driver is operating an authorized emergency vehicle in the course of his/her official duties; or
- the driver is operating a vehicle within the geographical limits of a city or town
Therefore, people who are cited for driving too slowly in the leftmost lane can try to argue that they fall under one of the above exceptions. Typical evidence in these cases includes:
- video surveillance footage
- eyewitness testimony
- records from police radar guns
- whether reports
- accident reports
Penalties for driving too slowly in the left lane
Violating Nevada’s traffic speed laws is a misdemeanor in Nevada. The Assembly Bill text does not specify what the punishment is, but various sources claim that the fine increases with each successive offense:
- First-time conviction: $50
- Second-time conviction: $100
- Third-time conviction: $250
It is often possible for a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney to get the charge reduced to a non-moving violation. The benefit of non-moving violations is that they do not cause the driver’s insurance premiums to increase.
Demerit points for driving too slow in the left lane
The Assembly Bill text does not specify how many Nevada demerit points drivers will get from the Nevada DMV for driving too slowly, but it is presumably two (2) points. This is because failing to move to the right lane for driving too slowly carries two (2) demerit points. (See our article on the Nevada traffic offense of driving too slowly (NRS 484B..623, 484B.627 & 484B.630))
Drivers who accumulate 12 or more demerit points within a one (1) year time span face getting their license suspended for six (6) months. Though these drivers may be able to get a restricted license halfway through this suspension period.
Note that drivers may also be able to get three (3) points removed from their license by doing a traffic-safety course (as long as doing the course is not part of a plea deal).