Bill would bar big rigs from some left lanes in Missouri

| 1/28/2005

The head of the Missouri Senate Transportation Committee is pushing a measure to ban large trucks from driving in the far left lane on most urban highways and interstates in the state.

Sen. Jon Dolan, R-Lake Saint Louis, has sponsored a bill to restrict commercial vehicles to the right lanes of highways and interstates with three or more lanes in each direction.

Trucks would be permitted to merge left in certain situations, including an emergency attempt to avert a collision with another vehicle.

Under the bill – SB221 – violators could be subject to a fine ranging from $200 to $300.

The Grain Valley, MO-based Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association opposes lane restrictions for any vehicles.

“Adopting lane restrictions would be an ill-advised step to take,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. “Such restrictions invariably cause more problems than they fix.

“Trucks and other vehicles need to be able to move over a lane when necessary. It’s common courtesy, but this is also about highway safety.

“When you start restricting vehicles to certain lanes you end up with more vehicles tailgating and making unsafe passing maneuvers in all lanes. This isn’t good for congestion or highway safety.

“Lane restrictions that discourage smart, safe driving practices are just absurd.”

The association, representing more than 6,000 Missouri-based truck drivers, has encouraged its members to contact their lawmakers to voice opposition to the lane restriction.

A similar proposal to the one offered by Dolan is in the House. The bill – HB183 – introduced by Rep. Jack Jackson, R-Wildwood, is awaiting assignment to a committee.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor