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Passing on the right isn't always correct

We would like to have a copy of a past article on passing a trucker that is going uphill on Interstate 5, this trucker is in the slow lane, and is being passed by another trucker in the fast lane. I would like to confirm that it is legal to pass on the right when two truckers are blocking the main lanes of the freeway. I recall your article quoted a state trooper that said it is legal. Thanks again.

— Ike Smith

Ike, I had to do some searching in the Mail Tribune archives to find anything close to what you're asking about and what I found was a "Since You Asked" article from 1998. It was addressing trucks traveling in the emergency lane on the pass over the Siskiyous and whether that was legal. It was answered by a trooper, so maybe that is what you were thinking about. I can't find anything else close.

In that article, as well as in my response to you, the answer to your question about passing in the emergency lane is that it's NOT legal. You just have to wait while one truck passes another and leaves a lane clear for you to pass.

Now if your question had been framed with the trucker in the fast lane and you have an opportunity to pass him using the right-hand lane, is that legal? Then the answer is yes, it would be legal. On a road with multiple lanes in the same direction it doesn't matter which lane you pass in as long as the pass is done in a safe manner. Typically and preferably the pass is done on the left, but we've all seen that slow driver in the left lane that won't move over and so your only option is to pass them on the right.

Dace Cochran, a patrol sergeant with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, writes a weekly Q&A column on police issues for the Mail Tribune. Have a question for him? Write to Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501, or e-mail cochradc@jacksoncounty.org.