Trucks restricted from left lane in Central Texas

| Thursday, September 09, 2004

Police have begun enforcing new truck lane restrictions on Interstate 35 in Central Texas.

The left lane restriction, approved by the Texas Transportation Commission this spring, is being enforced in Williamson County. The highway department doesn’t expect trucks in Hays and Travis counties to be pulled over by police until signs are erected there, which TxDOT says will happen over the next few months. Violating the order carries a fine up to $200.

Carlos Lopez, director of the traffic operations division for the Texas Department of Transportation, recently told the Denton Record-Chronicle the agency likes the no-truck concept because “we think it improves safety.”

Lopez cited a study completed on the effect of a truck ban along an eight-mile stretch of Interstate 10 in Houston that showed crashes were reduced by 68 percent, while truck traffic remained constant.

The Houston Police Department’s presence along the stretch of roadway was also credited for fewer accidents.

Such bans are implemented at the request of local authorities, Lopez said.

The ban is limited to highways with three lanes in each direction, enabling truck drivers to pass other vehicles only if deemed necessary. Truckers can use the left lane for passing but not for constant travel.

Similar bans are already in place in Houston along I-10 East, I-435 North and state Highway 225, and in San Antonio along I-10 and U.S. 90.

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