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Elkhart Co. deputies crack down on illegal lane usage

With thousands of vehicles traveling it everyday, U.S. 33 is easily one of Elkhart County’s busiest roads. But with all the traffic, Elkhart County deputies say some drivers are using the wrong lane to get to where they need to be, faster.

“Traffic can be really heavy on this roadway so if you have drivers that are coming out of private driveways and need to cut across to both lanes of travel to get to the direction they’re going, a lot of people are then using that center lane as a merge lane,” said Lieutenant Casey Lehman with the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Dept.

Lieutenant Lehman says not only is it illegal, it’s an easy way to cause major traffic accidents.

“That can be a safety issue because then you have oncoming traffic that are trying to use that as a left turn and that can create head on collisions if somebody inappropriately uses that lane,” said Lehman.

One of the most prominent areas near a string of businesses where police were patrolling Thursday.

Drivers have been using this center lane to casually merge into traffic but not for much longer. Lieutenant Lehman says deputies handed out several warnings to drivers, which could soon lead to citations.

“Our main goal out here is to keep people safe while they’re driving down the roads so we will be out and enforcing the traffic laws in those areas,” said Lehman.

Lieutenant Lehman say he hasn’t issued any citations for the issue yet, but says if drivers begin to abuse that lane by driving long distances before merging, they will begin handing out tickets.

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