Missouri bill to scrap truck lane ban advances

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 4/1/2015

A bill moving through the Missouri House would open up to trucks the far left lane on certain multilane highways in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas.

Since 2008, trucks with a registered gross weight in excess of 48,000 pounds are prohibited from driving in the far left lane of “urbanized” roadways with at least three lanes of traffic in each direction.

The House Transportation Committee unanimously approved a bill to allow large trucks to merge left for passing only. Sponsored by Rep. Glen Kolkmeyer, R-Odessa, HB164 would repeal the lane rule on trucks in excess of 48,000 pounds.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association says existing state law poses serious challenges for truckers and jeopardizes the safety of the traveling public.

“By restricting the movement of trucks to the center and right-hand lane, trucks will inevitably block on- and off-ramps and impede motorists from safely getting on and off a roadway,” said OOIDA Director of State Legislative Affairs Mike Matousek.

Matousek, who testified in favor of the bill, also said that truckers contribute a significant amount of money to federal, state, and local transportation accounts and they have every right to use any available lane.

“At the very least, it’s counterproductive to enact and enforce traffic laws that actually decrease safety, rather than improve it.”

Kolkmeyer also attempted to get the change through the statehouse during the 2014 regular session. The provision was included in a bill that fell one vote shy of heading to the governor’s desk.

Kolkmeyer, who owns Energy Transport Solutions in Bates City, Mo., has said prohibiting trucks from using the left lane does the exact opposite. He previously told Land Line he has had drivers, including himself, behind the wheel experience problems with restricting trucks from the left-hand lane.

“What you end up with is a barricade in the middle.”

HB164 is in the House Select Committee on State and Local Governments. It is scheduled to receive consideration on Thursday, April 2.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Missouri, click here.

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