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Left-lane restrictions for trucks help improve safety in Texas

Regulation of the trucking industry involves both state and federal authorities. At the federal level, safety agencies have been working to issue and implement a rule on making electronic logs mandatory for commercial trucks. As we discussed earlier this month, many truckers are already starting to transition to e-logs, even though the federal rulemaking process will not formally begin again until September.

But state authorities also play an important role in truck safety. In that regard, the recent action by the Texas Transportation Commission on left-lane restrictions for trucks should be noted.

In an effort to improve safety for motorists, the commission has added another 78 miles of state highways to the designated areas where there are left-lane restrictions for trucks. Trucks are prohibited from driving in the far left lane for sustained periods of time in these areas.

The recent addition brings the total number of miles with these truck restrictions in Texas to 443.

These restrictions have not come out of the blue. They were implemented following an analysis of crash data. In 2000, a study by the Texas Transportation Institute found that left-lane restrictions for trucks along an interstate highway in Houston reduced crashes by 68 percent. A follow-up project in Dallas and Fort Worth also saw substantial reductions in crashes following the imposition of the left-lane restrictions.

The rationale for the restrictions is pretty straightforward. Keeping large trucks out of the left lane enables passenger vehicles to avoid them more easily. It also reduces the need for lane changes by these vehicles.

Please visit our page on trucking accidents.

Source: "Texas adds left-lane restrictions,” FleetOwner, Deborah Whistler, 5-1-13

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