Houston looks to expand left-lane truck bans

| Tuesday, November 20, 2001

Houston's mayor is looking to widen a ban on trucks in the left lane of highways around the city. The announcement comes despite complaints from truckdrivers and other motorists that keeping trucks in the outside lanes makes merging more difficult and dangerous.

A pilot program enacted in fall 2000 banned trucks from the left lane of an 8-mile stretch of the East Freeway (Interstate 10). A recent study of the program by the Texas Transportation Institute found that accidents along the segment fell by 70 percent during the eight-month test.

Pleased with the results of the program, Houston Mayor Lee Brown has reportedly asked the Texas Department of Transportation to expand the left-lane truck ban to the North Freeway (I-45) and the Pasadena-La Porte Freeway (Texas 225) from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays.

The Institute, however, noted that increased police presence in the area could have helped account for the decrease in accidents. Police issued more than 850 tickets in nine months for violating the lane restriction.

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