Nebraska lane ban, restriction bills die

| Tuesday, February 21, 2006

An effort in the Nebraska Unicameral to restrict large trucks to the right on some of the state’s multilane highways has died. An effort to keep most drivers out of the left lane on certain highways met the same fate.

The bill – LB816 – was rejected by senators in the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee. The bill’s sponsors wanted to prohibit big rigs, buses and other large vehicles from being driven in the far-left hand lane of highways with at least three lanes going in each direction. Sen. Carol Hudkins of Malcolm said the goal of the legislation was to keep vehicles that cannot stop or start quickly out of that lane.

Last month, the transportation panel also killed a bill that sought to keep all drivers from lingering in the passing lane. The ban would have applied only if the speed limit were at least 65 mph.

Sponsored by Sen. Marian Price of Lincoln, the measure – LB909 – allowed trucks to drive in the left lane to pass vehicles in the right lane, make left turns, exiting or if the volume of traffic made it impossible to safely merge back into the right lane.

Senators voted down the bill after several, including the committee chairman, Sen. Tom Baker of Trenton, pointed out current state law seems to cover the issue.

Nebraska law already requires vehicles to drive in the far right-hand lane if they are traveling slower than the normal speed of traffic. Another law prohibits drivers from “intentionally impeding the normal flow of traffic by traveling side by side at the same speed while in the adjacent lane,” the Lincoln Journal Star reported.

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