Fort Worth, TX, is considering a proposal that
would ban trucks from the left lane of Interstate 30 in the city, The Fort
Worth Star Telegram reported.
The city’s Police Department had planned to
offer the proposal to the City Council Jan. 6.
told the paper that the plan was designed to save lives; however, truckers and
highway engineers in the state told the newspaper it might not do so.
According to The Associated Press,
a 1997 state law authorizes cities to restrict truckers from the fast lane of
major highways during peak travel hours.
Houston was the first city in the state
to implement the rule, acting in September 2000 to restrict lanes on an
eight-mile stretch of I-10, roughly from I-610 to Sam Houston Parkway. Trucks
were ordered to stay out of the far left lane from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays
through Fridays, except when passing other vehicles.
Transportation Institute study conducted after Houston implemented the change
found that accidents decreased 68 percent on that portion of I-10 over a
nine-month period, with no deaths in the crashes that did occur. Houston
officials then decided to expand the lane restrictions to portions of I-45 and
State Highway 225.
However, highway experts have warned that the accident
reductions may be more the result of more police on the highway and less due to
the restriction, The Star Telegram reported.
"Load up the roadway
with police officers, Mike Sims, a transportation planner with the North
Council of Governments, said, “and watch the accident rate fall."
But despite those warnings, the
left lane bans expanded. In the wake of the I-10 ban, a series of Houston
suburbs worked together to add the restriction to Highway 255 through their
communities. In March of 2003, La Porte became the final city to approve the
restriction, which will run from inner Houston to the Gulf Coast.
If the Fort Worth City Council
approves the left lane ban there, it could be in place in six months, The Star Telegram reported. Other nearby
cities, such as Arlington, may then be asked whether they want to extend the
ban to the portions of I-30 within their boundaries.