Left lane violations on state highways continue to be a problem in Missouri

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Thousands of drivers will hit the road for Christmas in the next couple of days.

Law enforcement says one of the biggest problems on our highways are left lane violations.

They're known as left lane campers. Those drivers who insist on staying in the left lane for the entire time they're driving on the highway. Not only is that illegal, troopers say it's dangerous.

"If you see here how both lanes are blocked that's where your problem persists. You've got a number of cars involved. It increases congestion. Especially if you are on rolling hills and you crest that hill and you're confronted with this congested traffic, that's where we see a lot of our traffic crashes as well," said Sargent Jason Pace with the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Head on collisions are even more dangerous than rear-end crashes.

Pace said, "We've had a number of wrong way drivers thinking that they are in the right lane but they are actually going the wrong way on the interstate system or on a four lane road like we're seeing here."

Staying in the left lane, next to large trucks is also dangerous.

"They may go and try and change lanes without realizing there may be a car in its blind spot right next to them," he said.

In Missouri, the left lane is for passing only. The right lane for driving.

"It's not really based on a time factor. It's based on the amount of time it takes for you to safely overtake that vehicle," he said.

We were with troopers when they noticed a driver in the left lane for a few minutes.

"He's not had to pass any other vehicles. Not only that, he's also exceeding the state speed limit so we're going to have a little talk with him," said Pace.

The driver admitted to troopers that he wasn't paying attention.

"That decision to be on his phone distracted his ability to drive like he should have,"

The driver was given a warning for the left lane violation.

"Our goal out here is not to write tickets. Our goal is to make sure people are safe on the roadway. Make a conscious effort to make safe driving a priority and get to your destination safely then we've all accomplished our goal," said Pace.