Left-lane ban for trucks extended on Florida’s Turnpike

| 1/18/2008

A truck driver caught in the left lane of a 40-mile stretch of Florida’s Turnpike could be fined $100 and receive three points on his or her CDL, transportation officials say.

The Florida Department of Transportation is scheduled to extend a 20-mile lane restriction to 40 miles, beginning Feb. 1, between the Golden Glades interchange in Miami-Dade County and the Lantana toll plaza west of Lake Worth.

The previous 20-mile ban on the turnpike went into effect in 2005.

Officials say keeping trucks out of the left lane will make the roadway safer, a point disputed by leaders of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

“The whole notion of lane restrictions is ‘I want the trucks out of my way.’ The net result of that is you have more congestion in all of the lanes,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer told Land Line.

“It’s myth that these decisions are based on any type of sound science. It’s pressure, it’s politics and it’s emotion, and too often that’s what lawmakers react to. It’s commonplace in society and it’s commonplace among lawmakers.”

Florida has a history with lane restrictions.

According to the Land Line Magazine archives, truck-only restrictions have existed since 1990 on 70 miles of Interstate 95 in Palm Beach and Broward Counties.

About 140 miles of Interstate 75 in Sumter, Marion, Alachua, Columbia and Suwannee Counties have had truck restrictions since 1998.

– By David Tanner, staff writer