By Chief Steven J. Wojnar
Dudley Police Department
I receive a variety of driving related inquiries for this column. I was asked a question which applied to solid center lines on the roads. If you happen to follow a driver who is driving substantially below the speed limit, is there any provision in the law which allows you to pass this vehicle even if the there is a solid center line? In other words, can a vehicle pass another which is simply traveling slowly?
There are some exceptions in the law to pass across solid lane markers, but slow traveling vehicles do not appear to be one of them. Chapter 89 of the Massachusetts General Laws has the passing rules in Sections 1 through 4B. Section 1 allows for the crossing of solid center lines for making a left turn "into or from a private way." Section 5 also authorizes people to operate contrary to these markings when directed by a police officer or for road construction or construction equipment. According to this law, passing is allowed for a construction situation when it, "necessitates a departure from normal operational practices..." This plainly means there is no other way around the project. When passing under these allowed circumstances, it will still be the obligation of the passing driver to yield to on coming traffic.
When following a "slow driver" any passing contrary to the road markings is done at the drivers own risk. The driver is subject to a civil fine of at least $100. Should an accident occur, it would most likely be the fault of the passing driver, unless other circumstances dictate. The best advice is to have patience and wait for an allowable passing zone or for the vehicle to turn off or pull over. Minimum speed limits do not exist on most roads. Try to exercise due care and drive defensively.
- Wednesday, 01 August 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Chief's Corner