Probably for years, we've had it drilled into our heads that when you're on a multi-lane highway or Interstate (four lane especially) you are ALWAYS supposed to pass vehicles using the left lane.

Some folks go as far as to say it's "illegal" to use the right land to pass.  Hold on there, cowboy!

The folks at PEMCO Insurance released a new study this week examining just this topic. According to both Washington and Oregon state law, it IS legal to pass using the right lane, IF the person occupying the left lane is "left lane camping."

That's the term used for a driver going below the posted speed limit in the left lane, and holding up other vehicles. You are allowed to use the right lane to pass them.

As for the left lane being known as the "fast lane" by most drivers? Insurance and travel legal experts say that's not true, it's officially known as the "passing lane," and that drivers should keep right--except to pass. And yes, maintain the speed limit.

There are now signs on most Washington highways and Interstates indicating if officers detect a driver who's motoring mile after mile in the left lane, and they're clearly not passing other vehicles, they can receive a citation.  Apparently they're busting people for that now.

But back to the original topic. Yes, if somebody is clunking along in the left lane, you can use the right lane to safely pass them.