A simple tweet from an Indiana State Trooper got an overwhelming response while he was reminding people about the state’s so-called “slowpoke law.”
Sgt. Stephen Wheeles with the Versailles District in southeast Indiana tweeted a photo after pulling over a driver for going too slow in the left lane on I-65.
"I was driving southbound on I-65 and I noticed that there was a line of traffic in the left lane going a little slow. I gave her plenty of chances to move back over to the right lane and she just did not do it. I used it as an opportunity to educated her on what the law is," said ISP Sgt. Steven Wheeles.
Sgt. Wheeles tweeted out a picture of the car with a reminder about the states so-called slowpoke law. People quickly took notice.
"If you are traveling in the left lane and you have cars backed up behind you and they are wanting to overtake you or pass you…you are required to move to the right. She was just given a warning but used it as an opportunity to educate her. I don’t think she was really clear on what the law in Indiana was as far as using the left lane," said Sgt. Wheeles.
Wheeles’ tweet has 20,000 retweets and counting.
"Graham Rahal retweeted it and Troy Aikman retweeted it today so it has gotten some legs," said Sgt. Wheeles.
The state’s “slowpoke” or “move over” law went into effect in 2015. It says that drivers traveling in the left lane must move over if the car behind them is going faster. Police have said a driver going too slow in the fast lane can be just as dangerous for traffic as a speeding vehicle. ISP says since July 0f 2014 they have written nearly 5,000 warnings and 331 tickets for the left lane law.
Wheeles was overwhelmed with responses to his post, with many applauding him for enforcing the law and expressing their frustration with drivers who go too slow.
"I think that it hits a cord with a lot of people that they are just frustrated. I want to get where I’m going and traffic is in the left lane slow…so that is part of why it took off," said Sgt. Wheeles.
In one response to a Twitter user, Wheeles acknowledged that the law can apply even if you’re going the speed limit—it all depends on how fast the traffic behind you is going.
“The spirit of the law is that since many people drive well above the speed limit, it creates an ‘accordion effect’ as traffic starts backing up behind the slower vehicle,” Wheeles wrote. “This is where many of our crashes occur on the interstates. It’s all in the name of safety.”
Sgt. Wheeles says the goal is to keep traffic moving smoothly and to prevent crashes on the highways but says it is not an invitation to speed.
"We are going to stop speeders. We do it all the time. A lot more than we stop for the left lane violation and people running 80 or 90 mph up on slow traffic they’ll be caught and those are the ones that we will go after," said Sgt. Wheeles.