Missouri bill would bar big rigs from left lane

| 12/8/2005

If a Missouri state lawmaker gets her way, large trucks would be banned from driving in the far left-hand lane on urban highways and interstates in the state.

Rep. Patricia Yaeger, D-St. Louis, has prefiled a bill to keep trucks with gross weights exceeding 48,000 pounds to the right on roads that have two or more lanes in each direction.

Violators could be subject to a fine ranging from $200 to $300.

A Republican-led effort that has yet to be filed differs slightly. It would prohibit large trucks from driving in the far left-hand lane of highways with three or more lanes in each direction.

A similar effort was part of a larger transportation-related bill that was considered during the 2005 legislative session. The bill, however, failed to gain passage.

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

“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 simply discourage smart, safe driving practices.”

Yaeger’s bill – HB980 – has yet to be assigned to a committee. It will be considered in the legislative session that begins Jan. 4.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor