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Trooper stops a vehicle for the sole reason of driving in the left lane without passing. This is on I-20. Can anyone point me to the Transp. Code provision that would prohibit such behavior? BTW, it resulted in the recovery of 82g of Cocaine. Many thanks,

Abigail
Parker County
 
Posts: 12 | Location: Weatherford, Texas | Registered: November 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Disregarding a traffic control device? Was there signage that the left lane was for passing only? Just a shot in the dark.
 
Posts: 2135 | Location: McKinney, Texas, USA | Registered: February 15, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Sec. 544.011. LANE USE SIGNS. If, on a highway having more than one lane with vehicles traveling in the same direction, the Texas Department of Transportation or a local authority places a sign that directs slower traffic to travel in a lane other than the farthest left lane, the sign must read "left lane for passing only."

From the TxDoT website:

Keep Right

Watch for signs on Texas multi-lane highways that read "Left Lane For Passing Only." These signs let you know that the left lane on a divided highway is not a "fast" lane; it is a passing lane.

After you pass someone, move into the right lane once you've safely cleared the vehicle. Impeding the flow of traffic by continuing to drive in the left lane is punishable by a fine of up to $200.
 
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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� 545.055. Passing to the Left: Passing Zones



(a) An operator shall obey the directions of a sign or marking in Subsection (c) or (d) if the sign or marking is in place and clearly visible to an ordinarily observant person.


(b) An operator may not drive on the left side of the roadway in a no-passing zone or on the left side of any pavement striping designed to mark a no-passing zone. This subsection does not prohibit a driver from crossing pavement striping, or the center line in a no-passing zone marked by signs only, to make a left turn into or out of an alley or private road or driveway.


(c) The Texas Transportation Commission, on a state highway under the jurisdiction of the commission, may:


(1) determine those portions of the highway where passing or driving to the left of the roadway would be especially hazardous; and


(2) show the beginning and end of each no-passing zone by appropriate signs or markings on the roadway.


(d) A local authority, on a highway under the jurisdiction of the local authority, may:


(1) determine those portions of the highway where passing or driving to the left of the roadway would be especially hazardous; and


(2) show the beginning and end of each no-passing zone by appropriate signs or markings on the roadway.


V.T.C.A., Transportation Code � 545.055
 
Posts: 51 | Location: Dallas, TX USA | Registered: April 25, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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545.055 seems to address 2-lane roads, but the initial post sounds like a multi-lane divided road like interstate.
 
Posts: 2135 | Location: McKinney, Texas, USA | Registered: February 15, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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For article, click here.
 
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Was your defendant causing traffic to stack up behind him? If so, check out TEX. TRANSP. CODE �545.051(b) and Fisher v. Texas Dept. of Public Safety, 56 S.W.3d 159 (Tex. App.�Dallas 2001).
 
Posts: 156 | Location: Texas, USA | Registered: July 11, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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No, the defendant was not passing anyone and there weren't even any other cars in sight. My investigator found one of those "Left Lane For Passing Only" signs 7.2 miles before the stop (still in my county, though).

So is the default that one must only use the left lane for passing unless specified otherwise by some other kind of sign? Sort of like, yes, there is speed limit default even if there is not a sign.

Abigail
Parker County
 
Posts: 12 | Location: Weatherford, Texas | Registered: November 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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That's awfully far back. Remember, bad facts make bad law.
 
Posts: 374 | Location: Houston, TX | Registered: July 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Given that the sign was more than 7 miles prior to the location of the stop, can you even put the defendant on I-20 where the sign was located? That is, are there exits/entrances between where the sign is and where the stop occurred? Knowing the mile marker where the stop occurred would help, especially if there is a left exit in the vicinity. I would expect the defense to argue that the evidence does not show the defendant was on I-20 where the sign is posted (unless you have something specific - which could lead to questions about why there was no stop for 7 miles...) Also, I don't think there is a "default" that the left lane is for passing only, as evidenced by the requirement that where the left lane is for passing only, signs must be posted. To me, it looks like the default is that the left lane is available for driving at any time UNLESS signs indicate that it is for passing ONLY
 
Posts: 325 | Location: Texas, USA | Registered: November 16, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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What does the video show (I sure hope there's a video)? If you have evidence that objectively shows any other offenses (e.g., D drove on the improved shoulder, license plate lamp out, etc.), even if the officer's intent was to stop for driving in the left lane while not passing, then this may be salvaged. I am also very uncomfortable with the officer's subjective basis for the stop in this case.
 
Posts: 1089 | Location: UNT Dallas | Registered: June 29, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You realize, of course, that he was not interested in the stacking up of traffic and that this stop was not subjective based upon the traffic violation? It was subjective; however, based upon the 82 grams of cocaine which the officer already knew was in the car. It's hard when the tip comes first and then you have to find an independant reason to stop the guy. I've had officers jump the gun, but it looks like your officer found the only crook who could actually drive and was running out of options.
 
Posts: 73 | Location: Richmond, TX | Registered: January 06, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Check transp. code section 545.051 (b).
 
Posts: 1 | Location: Brenham, Texas | Registered: June 16, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I was just talking with an investigator in our office about this offense being used by DPS. All of a sudden I've gotten a boat load of cases with this as the basis of the stop from the troopers in my area.

Assuming for arguments sake that it is one of aforementioned offenses, its not going to sell well to a jury, IMHO.
 
Posts: 640 | Location: Longview, Texas | Registered: October 10, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You might look at Baker v. State, 50 SW3d 143 (Tex. App. -- Eastland 2001). Facts are much better in that case (traveled less than a mile) but it might help.
 
Posts: 419 | Location: Abilene, TX USA | Registered: December 16, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've never argued 545.051(b) in front of a jury but I have been successful with it in pre-trial.

We have all been behind a guy that hogs the left lane. When that happens the people behind him get impatient and their decision making ability starts to go out the window. Our local guys use this statute to break up traffic a little so that it continues to flow as smoothly as possible. Getting the jury to understand the sound reason for the statute is key.

Under these facts, as I understand them, I think that it would be hard to argue the public safety angle.
 
Posts: 156 | Location: Texas, USA | Registered: July 11, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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