Indiana lane restrictions bill fails

| 3/13/2007

A bill has died in the Indiana Senate that sought to keep slow-moving traffic out of the left lane on the state's multi-lane highways. It included a provision to restrict trucks to the far right-hand lane on highways with three or more lanes.

Sponsored by Sen. Teresa Lubbers, R-Indianapolis, the bill remained in committee at a deadline to advance, effectively killing it for the year.

The bill - SB259 - would have limited all vehicles from the left lane on interstates. It would also have required large trucks to travel only in the far right lane. Violators would have faced $500 fines.

Currently, trucks are able to drive in the right-most lanes on highways with three or more lanes in the state. Trucks already are restricted to the far right lane on two-lane highways in the state.

Lubbers' bill would have allowed any vehicle other than a large truck to use the left lane if needing to pass or overtake a slower moving vehicle or if no other vehicle is directly behind them.

The bill's failure to advance was welcome news to officials with the Grain Valley, MO-based Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. The group favors rules prohibiting slower traffic from the left lane but opposes lane restrictions for any class of vehicle.

"Adopting lane restrictions would have been 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."

- By Keith Goble, state legislative editor