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Highway Shoulder Driving: Illegal Or Not?

Updated: Friday, May 30 2014, 06:30 PM CDT

We've all probably daydreamed about it: jumping onto the shoulder of a roadway and leaving that highway headache in your rear view mirror.

It's a problem some drivers on Loop 360 are noticing -- even complaining to the Austin Police Department.

As if gridlock isn't bad enough, driver behavior can cause even more chaos.

"I'm seeing something every single day," says Loop 360 commuter J.B. Hager. "And that's when traffic stops people just use the shoulder as a lane."

Hager caught it on camera -- one, two, three cars passing by in a row.

"These people think they're special," he says. "It's like this narcissism that 'I don't have to play by the rules and I can zip past all of you.'"

The Austin Police Department says not only is it a rule, it is against the law.

But a local attorney says that it's technically not illegal to ride on the shoulder, and it's the law that's the problem. He says that the wording really needs to be more specific.

Attorney Jason Nassour read the statute aloud: "You can operate on the improved shoulder if that operation is necessary and may be done safely, but only to pass another vehicle that is slowing or stopped in the main traffic portion of the highway," he says. "If you read it that way, the two don't make sense."

Nassour says this makes it pretty easy to evade a ticket.

"There's no need to have to pass the traffic, and need is not defined, so that's the pickle that lawyers usually will fight when a ticket is written," he says.

Legal or not, Hager stands strong. "It's just not the right thing to do."

But Nassour disagrees. "If you're gonna be bitter, get in the shoulder and drive down with 'em. And be safer than the next guy. Or get them to change the statute," he says.

Just remember, we're all in this traffic jam together.

APD does emphasize if you are caught shoulder driving, you will be cited.

By Ashley Roberts

Highway Shoulder Driving: Illegal Or Not?


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